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    ABSTRACT: Analyses of the politics of energy production have traditionally focused on issues of resource extraction and large scale generation. Yet questions of politics are just as critical when it comes to considering the development of ‘small’ energy – variously referred to as micro-or distributed generation and frequently associated with the growing role of communities in the production of renewable energy. In this paper, we focus on a resource – a local river – to examine the ways in which a community-based project sought to produce it as a viable and legitimate source of energy production. Such an initiative, we find, is fraught with challenges. In particular, we identify three facets of the production of micro-hydro power that have been critical to its deployment and contestation. First, the means through which the hydro resource is calculated and valued. Second, the ways in which recasting the river in energy resource terms serves to challenge established notions of the river. Third, the identification of hydro power as a ‘low carbon’ energy resource has at once served to create new discourses about the role and responsibilities for using the river as an energy resource, whilst also calling into question its viability in the long term under conditions of climate change.
    Geoforum 09/2014; 56:66–76. DOI:10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.06.015
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    ABSTRACT: Using the experiences of first and second generation migrants from three villages in Thailand, we “personalize” the middle income trap, seeking to understand how and why migrants with growing levels of education and human capital remain rooted to their natal villages. Agrarian change is such that the village remains the locus of familial belonging and livelihood security, limiting engagement with the knowledge economy, sometimes for good reason given the precarity of much non-farm work. We conclude that the middle-income trap for these villages in Thailand is as much personal as it is institutional and structural.
    World Development 07/2014; 59:184–198. DOI:10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.01.031
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    ABSTRACT: This paper aims to evaluate how varying degrees of land-use/cover (LULC) changes across sub-catchments affect a flood peak at the catchment outlet. The study site was the Konar catchment, a part of the upper Damodar Basin in eastern India. A HEC-HMS model was set up to simulate rainfall–runoff processes for two LULC scenarios three decades apart. Because of sparse data availability at the study site, we used the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) curve number (CN) approach to account for the effect of LULC and soil on the hydrologic response of the catchment. Although a weak (r = 0.53) but statistically significant positive linear correlation was found between sub-catchment wise LULC changes and the magnitude of the flood peak at the catchment outlet, a number of sub-catchments showed marked deviations from this relationship. The varying timing of flow convergence at different stream orders due to localised LULC changes makes it difficult to upscale the conventional land-use and runoff relationship, evident at the plot scale, to a large basin. However, a simple modelling framework is provided based on easily accessible input data and a freely available and widely used hydrological model (HEC-HMS) to check the possible effect of LULC changes at a particular sub-catchment on the hydrograph at the basin outlet.
    Catena 07/2014; 118:28–40. DOI:10.1016/j.catena.2014.01.015
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    ABSTRACT: Research around micro-hydro power is focused on technical aspects with limited understanding of the social organisation and environmental implications. We examine the ways in which micro-hydro is engaged by people and organisations as a means of contributing to the UK's policy ambition for renewable energy. We bring to the fore the way in which expertise is used and contested. A web based review of micro-hydro schemes in the UK was undertaken and a detailed evaluation of two schemes in the North of England was conducted to determine how expertise and contestation figures in community schemes. Results demonstrate a rapid expansion of micro-hydro in the UK. Ownership/control is highly ‘community based’. Until now research around micro-hydro has been dominated by technical approaches with schemes defined in terms of hardware. We propose a third dimension to Walker and Cass's (2007) classification of renewable energy developments: the environmental dimension. We suggest this dimension of micro-hydro is critical, both in terms of the extent to which resources can be realised but also the ways in which it might attract controversy, in particular around how expertise is used and valued.
    Energy Policy 05/2014; 68:92–101. DOI:10.1016/j.enpol.2013.12.046
  • Quaternary Science Reviews 05/2014; 91. DOI:10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.03.015
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    ABSTRACT: This paper considers the role that microseismic ground displacements may play in fracturing rock via cyclic loading and subcritical crack growth. Using a coastal rock cliff as a case study, we firstly undertake a literature review to define the spatial locations that may be prone to microseismic damage. It is suggested that microseismic weakening of rock can only occur in ‘damage accumulation zones’ of limited spatial extent. Stress concentrations resulting from cliff height, slope angle and surface morphology may nucleate and propagate a sufficiently dense population of microcracks that can then be exploited by microseismic cyclic loading. We subsequently examine a 32-day microseismic dataset obtained from a coastal cliff-top location at Staithes, UK. The dataset demonstrates that microseismic ground displacements display low peak amplitudes that are punctuated by periods of greater displacement during storm conditions. Microseismic displacements generally display limited preferential directivity, though we observe rarely occurring sustained ground motions with a cliff-normal component during storm events. High magnitude displacements and infrequently experienced ground motion directions may be more damaging than the more frequently occurring, reduced magnitude displacements characteristic of periods of relative quiescence. As high magnitude, low frequency events exceed and then increase the damage threshold, these extremes may also render intervening, reduced magnitude microseismic displacements ineffective in terms of damage accumulation as a result of crack tip blunting and the generation of residual compressive stresses that close microcracks. We contend that damage resulting from microseismic ground motion may be episodic, rather than being continuous and in (quasi-)proportional and cumulative response to environmental forcing. A conceptual model is proposed that describes when and where microseismic ground motions can operate effectively. We hypothesise that there are significant spatial and temporal limitations on effective microseismic damage accumulation, such that the net efficacy of microseismic ground motions in preparing rock for fracture, and hence in enhancing erosion, may be considerably lower than previously suggested in locations where high magnitude displacements punctuate ‘standard’ displacement conditions. Determining and measuring the exact effects of microseismic ground displacement on damage accumulation and as a trigger to macro-scale fracture in the field is not currently possible, though our model remains consistent with field observations and conceptual models of controls on rockfall activity.
    Geomorphology 02/2014; 207:161–173. DOI:10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.11.002
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    ABSTRACT: Glacial geomorphological mapping of southern Alberta, Canada, reveals landform assemblages that are diagnostic of terrestrial-terminating ice streams/fast flowing outlet glaciers with lobate snouts. Spatial variability in features that comprise the landform assemblages reflects changes in (a) palaeo-ice stream activity (switch on/off); and (b) snout basal thermal regimes associated with climate sensitive, steady state flow. Palaeo-ice stream tracks reveal distinct inset sequences of fan-shaped flowsets indicative of receding lobate ice stream margins. Former ice lobe margins are demarcated by (a) major, often glacially overridden transverse moraine ridges, commonly comprising glacitectonically thrust bedrock; and (b) minor, closely spaced recessional push moraines and hummocky moraine arcs. Details of these landform types are well exhibited around the former southern margins of the Central Alberta Ice Stream, where larger scale, more intensive mapping identifies a complex glacial geomorphology comprising minor transverse ridges (MTR types 1–3), hummocky terrain (HT types 1–3), flutings, and meltwater channels/spillways. The MTR type 1 constitute the summit corrugation patterns of glacitectonic thrust moraines or major transverse ridges and have been glacially overrun and moderately streamlined. The MTR type 2 sequences are recessional push moraines similar to those developing at modern active temperate glacier snouts. The MTR type 3 document moraine construction by incremental stagnation because they occur in association with hummocky terrain. The close association of hummocky terrain with push moraine assemblages indicates that they are the products of supraglacial controlled deposition on a polythermal ice sheet margin, where the HT type 3 hummocks represent former ice-walled lake plains. The ice sheet marginal thermal regime switches indicated by the spatially variable landform assemblages in southern Alberta are consistent with palaeoglaciological reconstructions proposed for other ice stream/fast flow lobes of the southern Laurentide Ice Sheet, where alternate cold, polythermal, and temperate marginal conditions associated with climate sensitive, steady state flow sequentially gave way to more dynamic streaming and surging activity.
    Geomorphology 01/2014; 204:86–113. DOI:10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.07.031
  • Political Geography 12/2013; 38. DOI:10.1016/j.polgeo.2013.11.003
  • Journal of Public Health 11/2013; 35(4). DOI:10.1093/pubmed/fdt113
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reports on research framed by theories of therapeutic landscapes and the ways that the social, physical and symbolic dimensions of landscapes relate to wellbeing and healing. We focus especially on the question of how attributes of therapeutic landscapes are constructed in different ways according to the variable perspectives of individuals and groups. Through an ethnographic case study in a psychiatric hospital in the North of England we explore the perceived significance for wellbeing of 'smoking spaces' (where tobacco smoking is practiced in ways that may, or may not be officially sanctioned). We interpret our findings in light of literature on how smoking spaces are linked to the socio-geographical power relations that determine how smoking is organised within the hospital and how this is understood by different groups using the hospital building. We draw on qualitative research findings from discussion groups, observations, and interviews with patients, carers and staff. These focused on their views about the building design and setting of the new psychiatric hospital in relation to their wellbeing, and issues relating to smoking spaces emerged as important for many participants. Creating and managing smoking spaces as a public health measure in psychiatric hospitals is shown to be a controversial issue involving conflicting aims for health and wellbeing of patients and staff. Our findings indicate that although from a physical health perspective, smoking is detrimental, the spaces in which patients and staff smoke have social and psychological significance, providing a forum for the creation of social capital and resistance to institutional control. While the findings relate to one case study setting, the paper illustrates issues of wider relevance and contributes to an international literature concerning the tensions between perceived psychological and psychosocial benefits of smoking vs. physical harm that smoking is likely to cause. We consider the implications for hospital design and the model of care.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 11/2013; 97:104-11. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.08.009
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