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Issue Date: 11-Apr-2014
Authors: Pappalardo, Giusy
Title: Starting from the River Again. Community Processes to Regenerate Spoiled Ecosystems
Abstract: Rivers and their ecosystems are a vital core of human societies: not only do they provide resources, in particular for rural economies, they also generate symbolic meanings in different cultures around the world. The Dissertation focuses on how watershed planning and management can be enhanced with the purpose of improving the relationship of human communities and natural ecosystems. This work is located within the growing debate, in the field of environmental planning, focused on the necessity to integrate scientific knowledge with a broader understanding of how social-ecological system works (Gunderson and Hollings 2001) and how communities use various types of knowledge to innovate the way they relate with natural resources; (Ostrom 2009, Fischer 2009). Two detailed cases are presented: the Mississippi communities relating with the Delta-Yazoo River basin and Pascuagoula River basin, MS, U.S.A.; the Simeto communities relating with the Simeto River Valley, Sicily, Italy. In both cases, innovating watershed planning through stakeholders collaboration faces significant difficulties, related with long-term socio-cultural struggles. Mississippi is explored through Case Study Research; the inquiry identifies the necessity of questioning bottom-up and collaborative practices in the light of reflections about dynamics of power; research also shows that even in a very challenging context there are windows of opportunities; in this case, various stakeholders agree on the necessity of improving various forms of education, integrating environmental and social-cultural issues. The Mississippi case highlights a clear indication, for planning discipline, to bridge the traditional divide between scientific environmental knowledge and the problem of democracy. The Simeto case is a narrative of the direct engagement of the author in a Participatory Action Research (PAR) process, which was generated with questions about the need of linking environmental restoration with social-cultural and democratic innovations, so that the Mississippi conclusions are the starting point of the Simeto narrative. According with the nature of PAR methodology, in which knowledge is collectively produced and continuously reshaped through action, the narrative shows how the Simeto community has learned through a democratic approach to research, in order to innovate watershed planning, to promote the democratic dialogue and to affect institutions. From a methodological standpoint, the Dissertation discusses how Case Study Research relates with Participatory Action Research. The Dissertation offers various details on practical devices, mostly related to the need of facing challenges and changes through a process of collective re-framing and through community-based education, not only to enhance the health of river s ecosystem, but also to improve communities quality of life. Fischer, F., 2009. Democracy & Expertise. Reorienting policy inquiry. Oxford University Press. Gunderson, L., Holling C., 2001. Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island Press. Ostrom, E., 2009. A General Framework for Analyzing Sustainability of Social-Ecological Systems, Science.
Appears in Collections:Area 08 - Ingegneria civile e architettura

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PPPGSY83A45C351N-AppendicesA.pdfAppendices38,36 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
PPPGSY83A45C351N-GP_DISSERTATION_FINAL.pdfDissertation22,29 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
PPPGSY83A45C351N-COVER.pdfCover 1,94 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

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