Publications

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    Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: However vast were the resources used to create industrial civilization, they were never limitless. Biophysical constraints, always a part of human existence, could be ignored for these past few centuries, a one-time era of resource abundance. This is no longer possible. Many of the challenges we face can be traced to our centuries-long consumption and construction binge and, soon, to its abrupt culmination. Climate disruption, a consequence of our rapacious use of fossil fuels, is intensifying. The amount of available net energy (the energy available to society after deducting energy used during extraction and production) was massive at first, misleading us with the false prospect of endless growth. False because, easily unnoticed, net energy has been on a relentless decline. We are approaching the day when net energy becomes insufficient for maintaining, let alone building out, modern society. Technological innovation, to which we attribute much of our success, cannot create energy or natural resources, and our industrial prowess cannot negate the laws of thermodynamics. Thus, while our ingenuity can slow the approach of a resource-limited future, it will not fundamentally change that outcome. We will all, of necessity, accept that biophysical limits are a defining characteristic of life. Such acceptance is long overdue but hard for us, hard because it demands profoundly different worldviews and patterns of living. Yet acceptance is but the first step and not nearly as hard as what comes next. The depth and duration of the required transition is unprecedented. Adapting well to a drawn-out decline in resource availability is not something with which we are familiar. Furthermore, since we seem to be starting late in the process, having tem-porarily delayed the needed behavior change, we will likely need to quickly respond to events. Prefiguring our response could ease the transition. It is here that psychology can play an essential role, since what is being faced is not a technological or political challenge but an existential one. The coming transition provides us with a rare moment. During the initial phase of downshifting, there likely will be a period of flux, a time during which people might be willing to reshape their emotional connection and moral stance toward each other and the rest of the planet. It is during this time that our on-going efforts to promote ecological consciousness and to help people reconnect with nature might turn to the even larger goal of adopting an ecological partnership society to replace the extractive dominator society.
    Ecopsychology 12/2013; 5(4):237-239.
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    Jason Duvall, Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: This study explores the strategies that experienced walkers felt were most useful for sustaining outdoor walking routines. To investigate this issue, a survey-based instrument was used in combination with a Conceptual Content Cognitive Mapping (3CM) exercise. Seventy-one experienced walkers were asked to complete the 3CM exercise to explore the strategies that have helped them regularly walk outdoors. After 1 week these same individuals received a survey investigating these same issues as well as demographics and physical activity participation. There was general agreement between 3CM and survey data with respect to the strategies used by experienced walkers. The most highly endorsed strategies involved using health goals and supportive walking environments. Survey results also revealed that those more likely to endorse the use of social support took fewer walks per week, but engaged in more nonwalking related physical activity. Overall, the findings suggest that experienced walkers use a variety of strategies. Strategies such as focusing of the positive health outcomes, using attractive natural settings, and developing realistic action plans appeared to be the most useful. These results also indicate the 3CM technique may be an effective way to explore beliefs and motivations regarding physical activity.
    Journal of physical activity & health 01/2013; 10(1):10-8. · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: Environmental psychology is a field of study that examines the interrelationship between environments and human affect, cognition, and behavior (Bechtel & Churchman, 2002; Gifford , 2007; Stokols & Altman ,1987). The field has always been concerned with both built and natural environments with early research emphasizing the former (Stokols, 1995; Sundstrom, Bell, Busby, & Aasmus, 1996). However, as environmental sustainability issues became of greater concern to society in general, and the social sciences in particular, the field increased its focus on how humans affect, and are affected by, natural environments. The goals of this chapter are to introduce environmental psychology, explain how it emerged from the study of human-environment interactions and note how it has redefined what we mean by both the terms nature and environment. Special note is made of humans as information-processing creatures and the implications this has for encouraging reasonable behavior under trying environmental circumstances (e.g., climate disruption, energy descent). Finally, two pragmatic approaches to bringing out the best in people are presented.
    01/2013: pages 17-33; , ISBN: 184872974X
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    Raymond K De Young
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    ABSTRACT: Interview by Alex Smith, originally published by Radio Ecoshock (27 March 2012) URL: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2012-03-27/rethink-relocalize "Raymond De Young is an academic who isn't working for a military think-tank, or explaining why we should just keep climbing the consumer ladder. His new "Localization Reader" will likely fall into hands that get dirty in gardens, and active in your community. I came upon Raymond's work through the psychologist Carolyn Baker. She passed on an article about how to survive our knowledge of a society under extreme stress - with a technique as simple as a walk in the park. The article is titled "Restoring Mental Vitality in an Endangered World: Reflections on the Benefits of Walking". This really struck a chord with me. I walk through some trees, or along a stream, every day of the year. I've had a few almost hallucinogenic moments just looking at the delicate patterns in a patch of weeds. Should we worry about all the millions of minds who have departed for electronic screens, living in electrons? Here is where to find Raymond's blog "The Localization Papers" (www-personal.umich.edu/~rdeyoung) Along with Thomas Princen, De Young has selected a bunch of useful papers on relocalization, for a new book, "The Localization Reader, Adapting to the Coming Downshift" (2012) from MIT Press. I like the mix of papers. You get classic works from people like M. King Hubbert, Joseph Tainter, Ivan Illich, and Wendell Berry. But they've also captured some of the new relocalization voices like Sharon Astyk and Rob Hopkins. In our interview, I ask what De Young means by "downshift". It turns out it may be a more positive substitute for "collapse." De Young describes it more like deciding to shift down a gear in a car, as we shift downwards in our unnecessary consumption of resources, indeed of the Earth. In the end, we get back to the problem of surviving the tidal wave of bad news, hitting us every day. I ask De Young how he copes, and is there more the rest of us can do, to maintain our vitality? Neither of us are saying we should be "Suzy sunshine" all the time. A bit of depression and cynicism is also healthy, given the slightly suicidal path our civilization is taking at the moment."
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    Raymond K De Young, Thomas Princen
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    ABSTRACT: MIT Press: http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=12829 Energy supplies are tightening. Persistent pollutants are accumulating. Food security is declining. There is no going back to the days of reckless consumption. But there is a possibility—already being realized in communities across North America and around the world—of localizing, of living well as we learn to live well within immutable biophysical constraints. Society is shifting from the centrifugal forces of globalization (cheap and abundant raw materials and energy, intensive commercialization, concentrated economic and political power) to the centripetal forces of localization: distributed authority and leadership, sustainable use of nearby natural resources, community self-reliance and cohesion. While attention shifts to the local, there are crucial regional, national and international dimensions. This book, combining original and classic works, shows how localization—a process of affirmative social change—can enable psychologically meaningful and fulfilling lives while promoting ecological and social sustainability. Topics range from energy dynamics to philosophies of limits, from the governance of place-based communities to the discovery of positive personal engagement. Together they point the way to a transition that can be peaceful, democratic, just and psychologically resilient. NOTE: All royalties from the sale of this book have been allocated, by contract with the MIT Press, to two community organizations that exemplify localization. Growing Hope is an organization dedicated to helping people improve their lives and communities through gardening and local food security (www.growinghope.net) and People’s Food Co-op has long sought to feed a community with wholesome food and good work (www.peoplesfood.coop). Contributors: Gar Alperovitz, Sharon Astyk, Wendell Berry, Adam Dadeby, Raymond De Young, John S. Dryzek, David J. Hess, Robert Hopkins, M. King Hubbert, Ivan Illich, Warren Johnson, Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan, Karen Litfin, Thomas A. Lyson, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, Lester W. Milbrath, Thomas Princen, Jorgen Randers, Josiah Royce, Kirkpatrick Sale, Ernst F. Schumacher, Michael Shuman, Joseph A. Tainter, Robert L. Thayer About the editors: Raymond De Young and Thomas Princen are professors at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. De Young is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on conservation psychology and urgent transitions and is the author of The Localization Papers (www-personal.umich.edu/~rdeyoung) and Princen is the author of The Logic of Sufficiency (2005) and Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order (2010) and the coeditor of Confronting Consumption (2002), all published by the MIT Press.
    02/2012; MIT Press., ISBN: 9780262516877
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    Raymond K De Young
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    ABSTRACT: In popular discussion, a set of terms is emerging: locavore, adapting-in-place, slow foods, BALLE (business alliance for local living economies), economic gardening, local currency, LOIS (local ownership and import substitution), ecovillages and localism. At the same time, some things are reappearing: farmers markets, granges, community energy systems, backyard gardens and old skills taught to a new generation. Localization is a concept that gives these phenomena a context; it shows where they are coming from and why, as energy supplies tighten in the coming decades, they are important.
    Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (AESS) 2011 Conference, University of Vermont; 06/2011
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    Raymond K De Young
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    ABSTRACT: The converging of climate disruption, energy descent and economic instability is stressing civilization, perhaps foreshadowing a downshift to a lower level of complexity. It is easy to despair at the unsustainability of human behavior; however, such despair may come from taking too narrow and pessimistic a view of human nature, such as believing unsustainability results from a motivational drive to reduce cognitive dissonance, which leaves us floun-dering in collective denial or that behavioral inertia is an immutable force making us unable to shift direction, or that humans are egocentric, short-term gain maximizers, consuming resources with little concern for waste, passing costs on to others and forming exclusive groups that neglect outsiders. While each is based on valid insights, the mistake is our believing that any one is the root of human nature. Such reductionism harkens, unfortunately, to an earlier period, when a then-dominant behaviorism argued that the existence of a behaviorist explanation made all other explanations irrelevant. After over a century of research, it would hardly seem necessary for us to argue in support of multiple determinants of behavior. Yet, single-determination theories abound. Their oversimplification is no more acceptable now than it was then; if indeed there is a demonstrable role for one view, this in no way eliminates the possibility that there is a role for other, and more positive, views as well. That humans can act in unsustainable ways is irrefutable. But when discussing human behavior, saying that our species' motivation is X or our behavior is to always do Y is simply wrong. There is no scientific basis for so narrow a view of human nature. The brain is more malleable and behavior more adaptive than such statements allow.
    Carbon Management. 02/2011; 2(6):607-611.
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    Raymond K De Young, Dotzour, Houston, Manubay, Saunders, Schulz, Smith
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    ABSTRACT: Many people visit zoos each year to be entertained, restored, and educated. While the spotlight is usually on animals and habitats, zoos are increasingly focusing on humans and their role in environmental stewardship. The primate exhibit at Brookfield Zoo in Illinois was designed to address this new focus. The exhibit includes a multi-stage educational experience at its exit that highlights what visitors can do to incorporate conservation behavior into their lives. A feature of such an experience is the short time one spends in it. This article examines the effect of this brief educational exposure. The findings indicate that the experience does increase interest among those behaviors that demand a considerable investment of time. While a follow-up survey revealed this interest diminished over time, the exhibit's core messages were resilient. This study provides evidence that even a briefly experienced, free-choice educational exhibits can promote concern for environmental stewardship.
    Journal of Environmental Systems 01/2011; 33(1):19-28.
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    Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: Coping with the challenges of global climate disruption and the peaking of the rate of fossil fuel production will require behavioral change on a massive scale. There are many skills that will help individuals deal with this coming transition but none more central than the abilities to problem-solve creatively, plan and restrain behavior, and manage the emotions that result from the loss of an affluent lifestyle. These abilities require a mental state called vitality. Even in the best of circumstances, maintaining this state can be difficult and, to make matters worse, it seems that modern culture is conspiring to wear down this aspect of mental effectiveness. This article discusses mental vitality as being based upon the capacity to direct attention. Functioning effectively despite the distractions and challenges of an electrifying and changing world fatigues this capacity. Restoring one’s ability to direct attention is explained as a likely precondition to effective problem-solving, planning, and self-regulating, thus making such restoration essential for high levels of individual performance in general and for thoughtful coping in particular. Fortunately, restoring mental vitality requires nothing more than commonplace activities in everyday environments. In fact, since everyday nature is sufficient, there may be no special advantage to time spent in spectacular environments. For instance, the simple activity of walking in natural settings, particularly walking mindfully, may be all that is needed for restoration. The article concludes with a series of specific prescriptions for enhancing our ability to cope with the coming transition, which can be summarized as simply to spend time walking outdoors, regularly, surrounded by and mindful of everyday nature.
    Ecopsychology 02/2010; 2(1):13-22.
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    Raymond K De Young, Thomas Princen
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    ABSTRACT: The drop in energy and material use may be 80% or more by mid-century, a shift without precedent. While energy is a key driver, the seminar is not about energy policy, nor does it develop doom-and-gloom scenarios. The seminar provides evidence for this premise but does not dwell on it. Rather, its focus is on one possible response to this emerging biophysical reality. It presumes that now is the time to envision adaptations, debate alternatives, and plan for and pre-familiarize ourselves with the needed transition. The syllabus is for a seminar that explores the implications of a new biophysical circumstance, envisions accommodation to this emerging new normal, and discusses adaptations for the transition. The seminar focuses on crafting a wholesome, just, equitable, peaceful, and resilient transition. Throughout, members consider the local, regional, national, and even international dimensions of localization. They try to imagine a process of social change toward a positive future. TEXT: De Young, R. & T. Princen (2012) The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. ISBN-10: 026251687X ISBN-13: 978-0262516877 NOTE: All royalties from the sale of this book have been allocated, by contract with the MIT Press, to two community organizations that exemplify localization. Growing Hope is an organization dedicated to helping people improve their lives and communities through gardening and local food security (www.growinghope.net) and People’s Food Co-op has long sought to feed a community with wholesome food and good work (www.peoplesfood.coop).
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    Raymond K De Young, Thomas Princen
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    ABSTRACT: Localization assumes that high-consuming, growth-dependent societies will (a) soon be operating on much less energy and material, (b) need to rapidly transition to a sustainable state, and (c) be less affluent, although function with higher levels of psychological well-being. The energy descent may be more than 80% this century, a shift without precedent. Energy is a key driver that the readings discuss but do not dwell on. For a more detailed premise see: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rdeyoung/premise-precis.html
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    Raymond K De Young, Jason Duvall
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    ABSTRACT: Poster.
    Walk21 Toronto 2007 Conference, Toronto, Canada; 10/2007
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    Jason Duvall, Raymond K De Young
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    ABSTRACT: This study explores the strategies that experienced walkers felt were most useful for sustaining outdoor walking routines. To investigate this issue, a survey-based instrument was used in combination with a Conceptual Content Cognitive Mapping (3CM) exercise. Methods: Seventy-one experienced walkers were asked to complete the 3CM exercise to explore the strategies that have helped them regularly walk outdoors. After 1 week these same individuals received a survey investigating these same issues as well as demographics and physical activity participation. Results: There was general agreement between 3CM and survey data with respect to the strategies used by experienced walkers. The most highly endorsed strategies involved using health goals and supportive walking environments. Survey results also revealed that those more likely to endorse the use of social support took fewer walks per week, but engaged in more nonwalking related physical activity. Conclusions: Overall, the findings suggest that experienced walkers use a variety of strategies. Strategies such as focusing of the positive health outcomes, using attractive natural settings, and developing realistic action plans appeared to be the most useful. These results also indicate the 3CM technique may be an effective way to explore beliefs and motivations regarding physical activity.
    Walk21 Toronto 2007 Conference, Toronto, Canada; 10/2007
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    Rachel Kaplan, J. Eric Ivancich, Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: Cities are often described as vibrant and exciting, fast paced and bustling. Yet cities also have tranquil places. Where might such places be? Perhaps beneath the canopy of a large tree, a vest pocket park, a colorful garden, or along a riverside trail. More than likely, such respites are nature places. They are unlikely to be nature on a grand scale; to some they may not even qualify as “nature.” Far from being untouched by humans, urban nature is at the mercy of people. But at the same time, people are at the mercy of such nature. Nature plays a vital role in their lives – as indicated by volumes of poetry and by what is by now a substantial body of research. People are often passionate even about small bits of nature they find nearby. They nurture it, defend it, and mourn its loss.This document grew out of concern for such loss. Rather than mourn that nature is losing ground to infill, why not plan for having nature nearby while also planning for increasing urban density?
    01/2007;
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    Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: The benefits to society from walking are many (e.g., economic, social, environmental) and a variety of personal motives support walking including utilitarian travel, increased physical health, and the intrinsic benefits of recreation and social interaction. There is now emerging a new reason for walking which both benefits society and is motivating to the individual. It focuses on mental (attentional) restoration. Attention Restoration Theory can be used to explain the psychological mechanism by which walking improves our mental effectiveness, as well as to suggest where and how to best gain this outcome. Effective functioning requires a mental state called vitality. Even in the best of circumstances maintaining this state is difficult. To make matters worse, modern culture all but conspires to wear mental effectiveness down. Mental vitality is understood to be the capacity to direct attention. Functioning effectively despite the distractions of our vibrant world is fatiguing of this capacity. Restoring this attentional capacity, being a precondition to thinking and self-regulation, thus becomes essential for maintaining social civility and individual wellness. Contained here are numerous researchable issues but all focus on a central question, namely, what are the conditions under which walking revitalizes the mind. This paper begins the process of identifying these conditions by discussing several themes. The first is where to walk. In principle there are many types of restorative settings. However, research highlights the restorative role of natural environments. A second theme is when to walk. Given that we are poor judges of our own mental vitality, restoration requires a planned and regular walking routine. A third theme is how to walk. The benefit of solitary over social walking becomes clearer once it is understood that there are different kinds of fascination and different sorts of distractions, each with different effects on the restorative process. Another concern is what to do while walking. The growing popularity of walking meditation raises the question of where and how to direct the mind while walking. Understanding how mental vitality fatigues, and is restored, helps explain why gently engaging the mind with a focus either inward on the body or outward on the environment, will aid restoration. A related and final theme concerns seasonal effects. Some people do find winter walks restorative. However, finding signs of nature in the dead of winter is clearly difficult and requires learning how to engage the mind. It seems important to playfully explore the many hidden forms of winter nature, particularly if we accept that year-round mental effectiveness matters.
    01/2007;
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    Thomas Crow, Terry Brown, Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: Humans not only structure the landscape through their activities, but their perceptions of nature are affected by the spatial and temporal arrangements (structure) in the landscape. Our understanding of these interactions, however, is limited. We explored the relationship between landscape structure and peoples’ perceptions of nature in the Chicago, IL, USA, suburbs of Riverside and Berwyn because they offer contrasting paradigms of an urban landscape. Designed in the 1800s by Frederick Law Olmsted, Riverside has several unique design elements (curvilinear streets, ample setbacks, parkways of variable width with mowed grass and naturalistic groupings of trees) that define the structure and composition of this landscape. The urban forest was the keystone of Olmsted's desire to create a harmonious community characterized by “refined sylvan beauty”. In contrast, the adjacent community of Berwyn has right-angled streets with small lots and narrow setbacks for houses. Differences in landscape structure between the two communities produced differences in the diversity, size, and composition of woody vegetation. As measured by patch-size distribution, Riverside had greater diversity in landscape structure than Berwyn, and in turn, Riverside had greater diversity in the composition and size of the woody vegetation compared to Berwyn. Riverside tended toward a “natural” appearance with vegetation, while yards in Berwyn tended to be trimmed and edged. Significant differences between the mean ratings of Riverside and Berwyn respondents were found for six of seven community attribute categories. Riverside participants reported receiving greater benefit from the visual and nature-related features of the urban forest than did Berwyn respondents. Berwyn residents ranked social atmosphere for the community and locomotion (wayfinding) highest among the seven community attribute categories. Despite differences between the two communities, residents valued the green residential environment provided by vegetation. However, the more diverse urban landscape as measured by built structures, woody vegetation, and lot size and shape proved to be more satisfying to the residents of these two communities. The design concepts developed and implemented by Olmsted more than century ago in Riverside are still relevant to city planners striving to develop living environments that are satisfying to urban and suburban residents.
    Landscape and Urban Planning 01/2006; · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    Raymond K De Young, Stephen Kaplan
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    ABSTRACT: In the modern world important and far-reaching decisions are often made on grounds that somehow seem inadequate or tangential to the core issues. Expediency, unsupported beliefs and short-term economic considerations frequently play a disproportionately large role, often with disastrous consequences for people and the environment. A striking contrast is provided by native peoples, for whom the sense of the sacred has been an important element in decision making. Mander’s "In the absence of the sacred" points to the power of this ancient perspective. Environmental design, standing at the intersection of science and spirit, is ideally positioned to provide leadership in reintroducing sacredness into human-environment relationships. Starting with the premise that the sacred should benefit both people and environment, we focus on three domains: nature, culture, and participation. Though a disparate collection, these domains share important properties that are central to the present discussion. They all involve considerations that are poorly handled within an economic framework. In addition, each speaks to often ignored deep-seated human needs. One aspect of nature is the land. When land is treated as sacred, the consequences are more likely to be respect, conservation and care; when treated as a commodity, land readily becomes a source of quick profit, with unfortunate long-term consequences. While the feelings about nature in modernist America are more ambivalent than negative, culture, and especially the culture of others, receives little respect. For native peoples, by contrast, culture is considered sacred. While the environmental design area is more familiar with participation than are many fields, even within our own field, user participation is often ignored or misunderstood. Participation can, however, extend far beyond design. Participation in building one’s own dwelling, for example, has been shown to have remarkable consequences.
    Environmental Design Research Association EDRA-35 Conference - Community: Evolution or Revolution., Albuquerque, NM; 06/2004
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    AMARA BROOK, MICHAELA ZINT, RAYMOND DE YOUNG
    Conservation Biology 01/2003; 17(6):1638-1649. · 4.36 Impact Factor
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    Robert Ryan, Donna Erickson, Raymond De Young
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    ABSTRACT: In the agricultural Mid-west, riparian corridors are vital for protecting biodiversity and water quality. The cumulative management decisions of hundreds of private landowners have a tremendous impact on this riparian zone. This study of 268 farmers in a typical Mid-western watershed in Michigan looked at farmer's motivations for adopting conservation practices, their current management practices along their rivers and drains as well as their future management plans. The results of the study showed that farmers are intrinsically motivated to practise conservation by such factors as their attachment to their land, rather than by motivations such as receiving economic compensation. Farmers are also likely to engage in conservation practices that make their farm appear well-managed. Furthermore, those farmers with strong intrinsic motivations were likely to adopt conservation practices that protect streams, such as maintaining a woody vegetative buffer or practicing no-till farming. This study shows that protecting riparian resources in agricultural watersheds requires strategies for conservation that respect farmers' attachment to their land and their desire to practise good stewardship.
    Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 01/2003; 46(1):19-37. · 1.11 Impact Factor
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    Raymond K De Young
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    ABSTRACT: When envisioning how conservation psychology might progress, three themes emerge: 1. Use multiple motives. People participate for many reasons, and conservation psychology should use them all. Significant among these is self interest, including human fascination with problem-solving, the drive to broaden our competence, the clarity gained from direct action, and the sense of purpose derived from meaningful work. Whatever else conservation psychology uses to motivate participation, it can leverage the effect by also working with (rather than against) these various forms of self-interest. We will increase citizen involvement when we are sensitive to the multiple goals people strive for, creating settings that allow for simultaneous pursuit of these goals within the constraint of sustainability. 2. Capitalize on local knowledge. Useful knowledge is not exclusively held by researchers and practitioners. The knowledge held by citizens is no less applicable than ours. In fact, their competence with regard to local issues can exceed ours. For conservation psychology to progress we need to understand that undervaluing local knowledge will impede our goal of sustainability. 3. Anticipate lifelong participation. People are motivated to participate long after we have done our job and left. People have lifelong involvement in whatever changes are made to their behavior and environment. Therefore conservation psychology must design interventions that expect to be modified and adapted. In fact, we need designs that take advantage of the tendency in humans to tinker with their world.
    Human Ecology Review 01/2003; 10(2):162-163. · 0.92 Impact Factor

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