Category Archives: Publications

Spatial planning for multifunctional green infrastructure: Growing resilience in Detroit

Meerow, Sara, & J.P. Newell. 2017.
Landscape and Urban Planning, DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.10.005
Abstract: Cities are expanding green infrastructure to enhance resilience and ecosystem services. Although green infrastructure is promoted for its multifunctionality, projects are typically sited based on a particular benefit, such as stormwater abatement, rather than a suite of socio-economic and environmental benefits. This stems in part from the lack of stakeholder-informed, city-scale approaches to systematically identify ecosystem service tradeoffs, synergies, and ‘hotspots’ associated with green infrastructure and its siting. To address this gap, we introduce the Green Infrastructure Spatial Planning (GISP) model, a GIS-based multi-criteria approach that integrates six benefits: 1) stormwater management; 2) social vulnerability; 3) green space; 4) air quality; 5) urban heat island amelioration; and 6) landscape connectivity. Stakeholders then weight priorities to identify hotspots where green infrastructure benefits are needed most. Applying the GISP model to Detroit, we compared the results with the locations of current green infrastructure projects. The analysis provides initial evidence that green infrastructure is not being sited in high priority areas for stormwater abatement, let alone for ameliorating urban heat island effects, improving air quality, or increasing habitat connectivity. However, as the Detroit GISP model reveals, it could be developed in locations that simultaneously abate stormwater, urban heat island, and air pollution. Tradeoffs exist between siting to maximize stormwater management versus landscape connectivity. The GISP model provides an inclusive, replicable approach for planning future green infrastructure so that it maximizes social and ecological resilience. More broadly, it represents a spatial planning approach for evaluating competing and complementary ecosystem service priorities for a particular landscape.

Keywords: Green infrastructureEcosystem servicesResilienceDetroitSpatial planning

Life-Cycle Emissions from Port Electrification: A Case Study of Cargo Handling Tractors at the Port of Los Angeles

Kim, J., M. Rahimi, & J.P. Newell. 2011.
Sustainable Transportation, 6 (6): 321-337.
Abstract: To reduce greenhouse emissions, ports around the world are considering using electric cargo handling equipment. To assess the benefits of the strategy, this study provides a comparative life-cycle assessment between diesel and electric yard tractors in a case study of the Port of Los Angeles. Results indicate a significant reduction in life-cycle emissions as the port shifts to electric vehicles and increases its use of renewable energy sources (eg. wind and solar), and that legislated reduction targets are not achievable by the year 2030.

Keywords: greenhouse gas emissionslife-cycle assessmentPort electrificationPort of Los Angelesrenewable energy

Papering over Space and Place: Product Carbon Footprint Modeling in Global Paper Industry

Newell, J.P. & R. Vos. 2011.
Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101 (4): 730-741.
Abstract: Through a comparative model of energy sources and emissions in the globalized paper industry, this article reveals how complexities associated with geographic variation and land use change create indeterminancy in footprints based on life cycle assessment protocols. Using industry and trade data, the authors develop geographic information system transportation and energy models to map the globally dispersed pulp supply networks and to rescale Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change GHG inventory guidelines to include carbon loss associated with land use change in the carbon footprint of coated paper.

Keywords: product footprintlife cycle assessmentcoated paper

Accounting for forest carbon pool dynamics in product carbon footprints: Challenges and opportunities

Newell, J.P. & R. Vos. 2012.
Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 37(0): 23-36.
Abstract: Modification and loss of forests due to natural and anthropogenic disturbance contribute an estimated 20% of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. Although forest carbon pool modeling rarely suggests a ‘carbon neutral’ flux profile, the life cycle assessment community and associated product carbon footprint protocols have struggled to account for the GHG emissions associated with forestry, specifically, and land use generally. In this paper, through a comparative study of U.S. and Chinese coated freesheet paper, we develop the initial foundations for a methodology that rescales IPCC methods from the national to the product level, with reference to the approaches in three international product carbon footprint protocols.

Keywords: forest carbonland use changeland use modificationproduct carbon footprint protocolsbiogenic carbonwood life cycle inventories

Developing a Science of Infrastructure Ecology for Sustainable Urban Systems

Xu, M., M. Weissburg, J.P. Newell, & J.C. Crittenden. 2012.
Environmental Science & Technology, 46(15): 7928-7929.
Abstract: Engineering research has conceptualized and modeled cities as an organismic metabolism, consuming energy and materials, and metabolizing them, and generating emissions and waste. But through this material and energy flow analysis, the specific complex interactions between infrastructure systems that shape these flows remain poorly understood. Understanding how these infrastructures interact with each other and how city-level properties emerge from such underlying interactions is fundamental to the design, development, and operation of sustainable urban systems. This article proposes the concept of infrastructure ecology as a way to analyze, via analogical mapping of urban to natural systems, the complex interdependence of urban infrastructure systems, and offer four fundamental research questions to foster the science of this new concept.

Keywords: infrastructure ecologysustainable urban systemsresilient urban infrastructure

Generating Resilience: Exploring the contribution of the small power producers and very small power producer programs to the resilience of Thailand’s power sector

Meerow, S. & I. Baud. 2012.
International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development, 4(1): 201-38.
Abstract: “Resilience thinking” is an increasingly popular approach among scholars and policymakers, with advocates heralding it as the successor to the dominant sustainable development paradigm. This article examines two programs for renewable, distributed power generation in Thailand from a resilience perspective. A conceptual model is constructed from the literature and use to analyze the programs based on information from expert interviews and other sources. Results suggest that the programs are increasing the resilience of the system, but their contribution is limited by barriers related to governance.

Keywords: resiliencenetworked governancerenewable energydistributed generationThailand

Green Alley Programs: Planning for a sustainable urban infrastructure

Newell, J.P., M. Seymour, et al. 2012.
Cities, 31: 144-155.
Abstract: This article analyzes alley greening programs in seven cities in the United States using the lens of sustainability planning. Study results indicate that most alley greening programs are narrowly oriented toward stormwater management. An in-depth exploration of the alley greening program in the city of Los Angeles illustrates a more robust commitment to sustainability– through the adoption of goals related to environmental protection, economic development, and social equity– might be actualized in the context of alley greening efforts.

Keywords: alleysgreen infrastructureurban sustainabilityplanningLos Angeles

Factors predicting the capacity of Los Angeles-region recreation programs to promote energy expenditure

Reynolds, K.D., Dahmann, N., Wolch, J.R., Joassart-Marcelli, P., Dunton, G., Rudulph, D., Newell, J.P., Thayer, J., & M. Jerrett. 2014.
Health & Place, 28: 67-72.
Abstract: While literature describes the influence of parks on physical activity, and identifies factors contributing to park utilization, little work has been done researching the availability of recreation resources within parks. In this study, an audit of recreation programs with moderate or higher levels of physical activity in Los Angeles area cities was conducted using the internet, telephone, and survey methods. Overall, findings suggest that the capacity of recreational courses to promote energy expenditure may depend on targeted age groups, age of the city’s population, and municipal fiscal capacity.

Keywords: METsrecreationhuman healthparksphysical activityfiscal capacity

Russia’s forests in a global economy: how consumption drives environmental change

Newell, J.P. & J. Simeone. 2014.
Eurasian Geography and Economics. Advanced online publication, 55(1): 1-34.
Abstract: Using production and trade flow data from 1946 to 2012, this paper assesses the state of Russia’s forest resources and demonstrates how sweeping changes ushered in by perestroika and globalization have forged a highly export-dependent forest sector. In tracking these flows through China to US urban centers, we demonstrate how consumption patterns affect ecosystems and socioeconomic relations in resource and manufacturing peripheries far beyond regional and national borders. The research is illustrative of how the “ecological shadow” of forest change and degradation in post-Soviet Russia is a confluence of factors related to both consumption and production.

Keywords: RussiaChinaland use changeresource consumptionforestsillegal loggingenvironmentgovernancematerial flow analysisregion

“Story-Networks” of Livestock and Climate Change: Actors, Their Artifacts, and the Shaping of Urban Print Media

Lee, K.C.L., Newell, J.P., Wolch, J., Schneider, N. & P. Joassart-Marcelli. 2014.
Society & Natural Resources, 27(9): 948-963.
Abstract: Despite widespread media coverage of livestock-related issues and growing scientific evidence linking meat production and climate change, systematic content analysis of this relationship in media coverage has been surprisingly minimal. In this article, we coded livestock-related articles from the Los Angeles Times over the 1990-2010 period to understand how various actants and artifacts shaped different story-networks– how a media report or “story” is framed. Distinctive story-networks framed the livestock-climate change linkage as an issue to be addressed through either technological innovation, individual lifestyle choices, or policy action.

Keywords: actor-network theory (ANT)climate changeframing theorylivestockstory-networks