Projects and Publications

I have had the opportunity to participate in a series of collaborative research projects. These tend to center on participatory research with local communities or with government agencies. I try to share the results of those here. Also included are poster sessions, publications and other reports.

Mapping the Public: Dynamics of Participatory GIS and Marine Spatial Planning
2017 Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Annual Conference, Denver, CO

Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) efforts have increased in application and scope around the world over the past decade. These approaches seek to apply comprehensive, collaborative, and science driven approaches to managing the ocean. These CMSP approaches represent an extension of many terrestrial environmental planning problems onto the ocean. This paper discusses an example of tensions between new and existing ocean interests and users through a case study from the United States. The State of Oregon initiated a two year public participation initiative as a central component of a new CMSP program. Unique to this effort was the extensive use of public participatory geographical information systems (PPGIS). These systems were used to solicit and organize data on commercial and sport fishing effort. This spatial representation of interests on the ocean for fishing proved to structure how other interests engaged the policy process, including recreational users, local residents, and the emerging ocean renewable energy industry. Using content analysis of public meetings and agency work sessions, and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, this paper shares how the narratives of ocean use and public interest worked with the technology of PPGIS to create a particular set of coalitions around shared data creation, interpretation, and use. These narratives are at the same time managed by public agencies charged with planning. Collecting, managing, and using these new PPGIS data becomes a public manager task that centers on crafting a particular set of “publics” that seek to represent resolve a larger public interest. This case study shows how this crafting of the public runs into barriers as those that are being characterized in a public and rational system seek to control outcomes.

Download paper here.

Managing the Visual Landscape of Oregon’s Territorial Sea
in Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions. Dawn Wright, ed.

A colleague and I had the opportunity to work with Oregon coastal communities to develop a visual resource dataset for use in marine spatial planning. This approach has resulted in a methodology that we document in the new book, Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions from ESRI.


New and emerging proposals for ocean renewable energy development have raised questions about how to responsibly and sustainably develop these resources. These uses have motivated states and nations to undertake coastal and marine spatial planning. Planning efforts often require collecting new data on various human uses of the ocean. This chapter describes the development and application of a participatory GIS method for assessing visual resources. This is based on participatory planning and democratic theory arguing that engaging the politics and the values of environmental controversies must be done in “hybrid forums” that use participatory co-development of assessment methods. This unique co-development approach allows for new ideas, concerns and values to be captured in the final assessment method and ultimately to allow for more durable agreements. The method uses a group based field assessment to score views based on local knowledge, elements of visual quality, and with computer modeling. The chapter details the development of this method with a stakeholder committee, the methods application the Oregon Territorial Sea Planning process, and the GIS analysis steps that support the method.


After the Wave: Testing Pre-Tsunami Disaster Recovery Planning on the Oregon Coast

This Oregon Sea Grant funded project will test how to best engage post-disaster recovery planning well before the disaster occurs. Oregonians are increasingly aware of their vulnerabilities to tsunamis and the risks that coastal communities face. Evacuation education and signage programs are prevalent up and down the west coast, with documented increases in community response to impending coastal hazards. What lags behind, however, are planning efforts to effectively implement preparation, mitigation and recovery measures. Communities on the Oregon coast are well-aware of the threat of a tsunami and many have undertaken substantial work to prepare for an unfortunate event. Dr. Connie Ozawa and I are working on an innovative approach that allows for planning despite entrenched interests. Instead of asking how to adapt existing infrastructure and coastal development to new tsunami inundation information, we will engage a pilot coastal community to imagine what their community might best look like 5 or 10 years after the tsunami, and what might be done today toward realization of that vision.


Marine Reserves for All of Oregon: Statewide Survey of Values, Attitudes and Opinions

This is an Oregon Sea Grant funded project to explore the values and opinions of Oregonians statewide as they relate to coastal and marine management. Planning for ocean uses has so far focused heavily on the perceptions and concerns of coastal residents, and increasingly Willamette Valley residents. But no statewide effort has been undertaken to survey similar issues. Our team has developed a phone and web-based series of surveys to collect options and to collect spatial use and values through a public participatory geographical information system (PPGIS). The PPGIS component involved a Google Map interface that allows respondents to drop “pins” of value and management priorities for areas on the coast.

PPGIS Interface

Screenshot of the Respondent Interface for PPGIS Survey

Bayesian Network Decision Support for Multiple Models and Experts
Poster presented to the Ecosystem Services Partnership Conference 2012, Portland, Oregon.

This poster explores how differing expert opinion can be robustly managed through Bayesian belief nets with spatially explicit representations of agreement and disagreement. The application suggests that debates over science and data can be managed in more integrated ways to identify areas of agreement and areas of conflict, allowing decision makers to focus attention on the important issues where disagreement persists.

Poster link: here.

Bayesian Belief Nets and Spatial Applications for Expert Opinions

Bayesian Belief Nets and Spatial Applications for Expert Opinions

Values, Interests and Ways of Knowing with Participatory GIS
Third Conference for Sustainability IGERTs (C4SI3) 2013, Portland, Oregon

The development of a visual resource inventory for the Oregon coast was part of a comprehensive marine planning effort. This poster identifies how this visual inventory supports multiple ways of knowing in the ocean environment – allowing for coalitions of interest to form and engage the policy issues.

Poster link: here.

Op-Ed Writing and Commentary

In addition to these academic pieces I also occasionally write for news or opinion publications. Here is a recent piece on the politics of Makers and DIY technology:

3-D print your way to freedom and prosperity
Al Jazeera America Opinion, May 2014

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