The research focuses on three heritage sites in Southern and Southeastern Colorado: the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (historic events: military attack on a peaceful Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho camp on November 29, 1864), the Ludlow Tent Colony Site National Historic Landmark (historic events: conflicts and fatalities during the 1913-1914 coal mining strike), and the Granada Relocation Center National Historic Landmark (historic events: internment of more than 7,000 Japanese Americans at Camp Amache 1942-45). Common to all three sites is a delayed recognition of the historic events that occurred there. The heritage tourism studies include an analysis of the past and current management practices at these sites as well as an examination of an increasing connectedness with other prominent tourism attractions of the region and their inclusion in local and regional heritage tourism plans.
An Examination of Tourism to Lu Gou Qiao ('Marco Polo Bridge')
Lu Gou Qiao, a historic (12th century) bridge South of Beijing, saw the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War with close to twenty million fatalities (mostly among civillians) during 1937 and 1945. A "Memorial Hall of Chinese Anti-Japanese Resistance" in the Town of Wanping next to the bridge has drawn millions of domestic tourists to this museum established in 1987. The present study conducted jointly with Dr. Ming Ming Su from Renmin University Beijing examines the visitation to the museum and the bridge site.
A main research question is what motivates tourists to the bridge, an attraction in itself with about 500 stone lion sculptures along an old cobblestone pathway, to combine it with a Memorial Hall visit. Is it a heart-felt patriotic duty and educational 'must' recommended by the group leaders or is it 'dark tourism', a curioisity to encounter death, human tragedy and catastrophe. Further, it s planned to conduct investigations into recently changed Japanese tourist behaviors and the relatively low recognition of the site by Western travelers. Surveys and qualitative interviews at the bridge as well as an analysis of Memorial web site are part of the empirical research.
Building Web-Based Spatial Information Systems Around Open Specifications and Open Source Software
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are rapidly moving to web-based applications that offer specific geo-processing functionality and transparently exchanging data. Interoperability is at the core of this new web services model, which is enabled by compliance with Open Specifications (OS). Open Source Software (OSS) provide a no-cost software alternative to proprietary software operating systems, web servers, and Relational Database Management Systems. We tested the potential of the combined use of OS and OSS to create web-based spatial information solutions to support land use planning in Mexico with web-based geo-processing capabilities currently not present in commercial web-GIS products. We demonstrate how the process is straightforward and can be accessible to a broad audience of geographic information scientists and developers.
Mobilizing Cooking Technologies for Development: An Analysis of Climate Policy
This research assesses how rural household cooking technologies in western India (and around the developing world more generally) are mobilized by institutions to advance various social and environmental initiatives. Currently I am focusing on how these technologies are integrated within climate change policies. Specifically, this research examines carbon-offset programs aiming to replace traditional stoves with cleaner burning (low soot) varieties. Along with calling for increased attention to indoor environments as active political ecological spaces, this research also underscores the crucial role of development intermediaries in shaping how development unfolds between individuals and institutions operating at various scales.
Health Effects of Living at Altitude
DEBORAH THOMAS, BENJAMIN HONIGMAN AND ROBERT ROACH
This research represents a cross-campus collaboration between GES and the Altitude Research Center at the UCD Anschutz Medical Campus, which is one of the world's leading centers examining the health effects of hypoxia. In the traditional sense, altitude as a hazard does not arise from a natural event or failures in human-created systems. Instead, altitude as an environmental condition is pervasive and relatively static. So, how does it present an environmental health hazard? In reality, people's use of the environment when living or traveling to moderate and high altitudes exposes them to lower oxygen concentrations, which in turn impacts health. Most studies on hypoxia have focused on the physiological effects of extreme hypoxia, but the effects of living in and traveling to moderate altitudes on various disease outcomes are of increasing interest. As an illustration, Colorado exhibits some extremely interesting health trends in the national context. For instance, when looking at life expectancy, 15 of the top 50 U.S. counties are in Colorado according to a recent Harvard study. While Colorado has a lower mortality rate than the U.S. for stroke, heart disease and many types of cancer, respiratory diseases, multiple sclerosis, and suicides all exhibit significantly higher rates than other parts of the country. This research frames altitude as an environmental hazard and focuses on moderate altitude, human use of these environments and effects on various health outcomes, including longevity, birth weight, and RSV.
The Production of Urban Vulnerability: A Focus on Urban/Wildland Interface Wildfires
This research aims to explicate (1) how conditions of vulnerability are more than indicators of risk and exposure but are also produced over time through complex planning histories; (2) how urban vulnerabilities are produced through alliances between conservation and economic development interest groups; and (3) how conditions of vulnerability contribute to and shape the management of urban environments through strategies of exploitation, accumulation, politicization and resistance.
Currently, I am applying this analytic framework to assess why cities in the U.S. West have historically sprawled into fire prone areas. Using historical and spatial data, this project analyzes the production of vulnerable places and populations to urban/wildland interface wildfires around the West. (I am currently focusing on the Oakland/Berkeley Hills region.) Research details how landscape change, institutional use of scientific knowledge, ecological management practices and urban growth policies converge to establish vulnerability-inducing development trajectories.