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Paper-Presentation [clear filter]
Thursday, July 13

14:00 CEST

3025 Emerging Technologies & Community Resilience (ETCR)
Modernity has increased the complexity of everyday life, exposing ordinary citizens to oftentimes imperceptible social and environmental risk. Integrated technological systems that leverage emerging sensor, computational and communication technologies, though, may allow individuals, organizations and communities to better understand, prepare for, survive and mitigate after micro, mezzo and macro hazardous events. Emerging Technologies & Community Resilience (ETCR) proposes to provide the knowledge, technology and expertise needed to create just this type of integrated system.

ETCR builds upon Sociological Theories of Action, Systems Theory, Information Theory, Computer Mediated Communication, and Social Construction of Technology perspectives as well as a novel theoretical framework, Systems of Accountability, to frame an applied, techno-sociological study of risk & resilience on university campus and their surrounding communities. An Action Research design, meanwhile, extends novel, inclusive and reflexive methodologies for studying complex system risks/hazards, which engages the collaboration of experts, researchers, administrators and community members in three international setting (Utica, NY, Concepcion, Chile and L'Aquila, Italy).

While enhancing/developing new computational, communication and sensor technologies, ETCR identifies/creates and aggregates dynamic social and physical data from various social data and bio-eco sensor sources related to social, health and physical-environmental hazards. These sources energize an automatized algorithm of hazard probabilities, made visual to community members through Virtual (VR) and Augmented (AR) Reality to integrate the operations and maintenance of the three participating smart and connected, international communities.

The project proposes to accomplish these technological improvements and interventions, while considering broader social and cultural perspectives on how community members identify, evaluate, adapt to, and incorporate smart technologies to reduce risk and increase trust among community members. Enhanced data science technologies will provide interdisciplinary, applied collaborations with integrated methodologies to identify, analyze and mitigate dynamic, multi-level risk.

Thursday July 13, 2017 14:00 - 14:30 CEST
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

14:30 CEST

3035 The Entropocene
According to Eric Schneider and the late James Kay “nature abhors a gradient” as it seeks to degrade any and all differences that can make a difference. They also claim that life self-organized by creating a meta-order out of disordered orders, evolving as an increasingly efficient, effective, sustainable (order from order) means for degrading the huge sun to earth temperature gradient. They inject purpose into the scheme by claiming that life represents “order emerging from disorder in the service of more disorder.” Or, as Jeffrey Wicken succinctly put it in “Evolution and Thermodynamics: The New Paradigm,” “Organisms are remote-from-equilibrium systems that maintain their organizational structures by irreversibly degrading free energy through informed kinetic pathways acquired through evolution. Dissipation through structuring is the strategy of life.” In other words, life came about as an evolving means for giving the second law of thermodynamics what it wants. Entropy. In my 2015 ISSS paper, “Anthropocene as Life’s State of the Art in Disorder Production: A Sustainability Conundrum,” I proposed that our species collectively is disorder producer summa cum laude. We are the most efficient, most effective, degrader of gradients, producer of entropy yet evolved. Calling our epoch, “the Anthropocene” doesn’t capture our essence. Our epoch is the Entropocene. We have turned the bio-geosphere from an accumulator of solar exergy (“free energy”, the measure of energy’s utility) as in fossil fuels, into a trapper of entropy a.k.a., global warming. Unfortunately, not only is our achievement as agent-of-entropy-in-chief not something to celebrate, our perch is being increasingly usurped by a new disorder churner on the block. Hyper-exponentially evolving technology is taking over where we leave off as it represents a far more effective, far more efficient means of degrading gradients, disordering orders including the gradients, including the orders that R us; our brains, our bodies, our face to face, family, community, societal bonds. This disorder, manifested as our increasing helplessness sans the escalating power of our technological props, our techno-prosthetics, spills over into the bio-geosphere and its ongoing degradation. My purpose in this paper is to continue exposing what’s really pulling the strings backstage of such global threats as climate change and by so doing set the stage for redress to ourselves, to our progeny, to our common, non-virtual, downstream future.

Thursday July 13, 2017 14:30 - 15:00 CEST
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

15:00 CEST

3048 Geospatial Assessment of forest Biomass Towards Potential Redd+ Initiative for Sustainable Ecosystem
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) aims in developing strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), and emphasized the role of conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+). Geospatial technology is a fundamental tool in monitoring forests for various REDD/REDD+ related biophysical parameters; like deforestation, reforestation, afforestation, forest degradation, biomass and biomass burning, carbon stock and footprint. Current study deals with the future scope of REDD and REDD+ regimes for measuring and monitoring the current state and dynamics of carbon stocks over time with combined (integrated geospatial and field-based) biomass inventory approach using multi-resolution satellite data. The combined approach was applied on a regional scale with hierarchy of forest strata representing almost the forest structure found all over India. The top-down and bottom-up approaches can henceforth be implemented from local to global scale. Biophysical modelling was implemented to model the relationship between NDVI and biomass. Power regression model was accepted as the best fit (R2=0.82) to model this relationship which was further implemented to calculate multi-temporal above ground biomass (AGB) and carbon sequestration for complete study area. The current observations reveals that geospatial initiative for biomass assessment can serve as useful benchmark for future studies related to global environmental change and access financial incentives that may lead to sound environmental practices towards sustainable smart cities.

Thursday July 13, 2017 15:00 - 15:30 CEST
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

16:00 CEST

3091 Performance Management in the Public Sector: The Urgent Need for a Paradigm Shift
nowadays the public sector faces many challenges related to human health, biodiversity, and the fundamentals of life – water, food, and energy. there are many complex interdependencies between social, ecological and technological systems. future scenarios are showing an increase in complexity and uncertainty. for many public service managers, it’s hard to keep up with all the changes and transformations in society. their work is often about making cities and villages, and their residents, resilient in the face of rapid change. public service managers are struggling with achieving community outcomes in a ‘value for money’ cost-effective way and with managing the unknowable.

the challenges show that there is a clear and increasing need for an effective performance management system in the public sector. for many public service managers, this is a big challenge. research often focuses on performance measurement, but does not offer practical solutions to performance management in public services. there’s still a need for empirical studies of public performance management practice. this paper combines systems science with the daily practice of public performance management, to be able to translate research results into practical solutions.

the public sector, and the performance management system within, are complex adaptive systems, which means that they need vital energy flows to stay healthy. in this paper, we look at the limitations of performance management tools and the lack of energy that they create.

first, the technologies are introduced. the public sector has adopted many performance management tools from the private sector. a popular tool is the balanced scorecard. this paper explores the growth of the tool into a “systems dynamics-based balanced scorecard”, supposedly based on systems thinking.

secondly, we explore the people’s side of the public performance system, because the key resource in many public services is human capital. in many organisations, the system of public performance has a negative effect on staff morale leading to poor staff engagement and lack of openness by managers. solutions to address this problem are not based on systems thinking, and are leading to short term results, if any. so, the public performance system is not creating the essential vital energy flows to stay healthy, needed for its survival as a complex adaptive system.

in this paper, i use a number of systems and futures concepts and principles including dsrp, cynefin’s five contexts or "domains" of decision-making, complex adaptive systems, batesonian ideas of “space in between”, nora bateson’s symmathesy, and causal layered analysis.

then, based on and explained by the research above, i’m introducing a coherent, holistic performance management system, using my two models: the compass model and the coherent organisational performance model. these models identify the position of the balanced scorecard, and visualise the dynamics of organisations and people.

this paper shows that public performance management needs to be addressed in a different way, and with high staff engagement, to face the current and future challenges. this paper identifies the urgent need for dialogue about the underpinning paradigms, identifies the key success factors, and offers a practical model and method to approach performance management in a new coherent and holistic way.

Thursday July 13, 2017 16:00 - 16:30 CEST
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

16:30 CEST

3083 Embracing the Complexity: Multiple Interests and Debated Resolutions in the Pineapple Value Chain in Uganda
Strengthening horticultural value chains can be used for improving food and nutrition security while reducing rural poverty. However, the complexity of local situations challenges the effectiveness of development strategies and calls for actor-oriented approaches. The fresh pineapple value chain in Uganda is illustrative of such a complex situation. The market supply is not organized though dominating and organizing lead firms. By contrast, individually negotiated and context specific actor relationships and their purposeful activities form and sustain this human activity system. As value chain actors take multiple factors for their business activities into account, the aim of our system analysis is to elicit their perspectives on the influence of these factors. This provides a more contextualized understanding to inclusively increase local actors’ benefits.

We used a systems learning approach, in which stakeholders and scientists seek a better understanding of the local system. Cognitive mapping and additional methods were applied to reveal internally hold perceptions about the factors and their influences on the income generation from engaging in the pineapple value chain. Several meetings with participants from only one actor group informed subsequent multi-actor meetings: five with farmers (4-8 each), one with brokers (5) and five with traders (2-6 each). Group cognitive maps served as starting point for twelve meetings which included participants from several actor groups (4-13 each). To foster the feeling of connectedness between actors along the chain, these consecutive multi-actor meetings evolved around the factors and situations that participants had identified as influential to all actor groups, such as prices, markets, quality and communication. The facilitation of the entire process was constantly adapted to encourage participation. Semi-structured interviews and participant observation further complemented the analysis.

The approach resulted in a contextualized picture of how multiple natural, technical and social factors influenced actors’ income generation in the pineapple value chain, e.g. farm and market price, market size, quality, seasonality, production methods and skills, buyer-seller relationships and transportation. There was little disagreement about the rationale of the influence of factors during the single actor group meetings. However, the number of factors and their cause-effect relations differed between actor groups. The dialogue during multi-actor meetings revealed problem-situations in the value chain. Participants expressed solutions and also explained barriers to them. For all actors in the chain to profit from their respective business activities, awareness of prices and other market information is particularly important. However, problematic communication patterns between actors showed current challenges and dissatisfactions. The flow of information was disrupted by the intertwined patterns of changes in prices, supply and demand, along with structural constellations, such as many small-scale farmers, relatively few brokers linking production areas to distant market centers and many, dispersed traders in different markets. Moreover, prices were individually negotiated and generally competitively formed. The occurring fragmentation among actors is the result and also part of the causes for communication problems, observed fluctuations and actor relations. In addition, the debate regarding proposed solutions, such as collective bargaining or establishing uniform prices, showed that this fragmenting feedback cycle is difficult for actors to break when contextual constraints and their conflicting interests are taken into consideration.

The participatory activities and shared explanations allowed the surfacing of problematic patterns and value chain structures that caused friction and hindered broader collaboration. The approach helped to trigger dialogue and understanding between otherwise often competing market actors. While actors are aware of the benefits from improved collaboration, this is difficult to implement given a contextualized system understanding. Participatory system inquiries are challenging, yet important for enabling actor-driven system change.

Thursday July 13, 2017 16:30 - 17:00 CEST
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

17:00 CEST

3106 A Systems Theory of Human and Land Transformations: Systemic Analysis of Land Use Changes and Dynamics in the NorthWest of Pichincha, Ecuador
Despite past high deforestation rates, the north-west of Pichincha, Ecuador, is a forested area characterised by its large quantity of cloud forest and the creation of private conservation networks. Nowadays, the fragmentation of remnant forest is important, but both a strong conservationist movement and foreign investment in conservation and ecotourism activities counteract it. In fact, much of the cloud forest around Mindo is protected in the Mindo-Nambillo Protected Forest thanks to civil society initiatives.

In the context of this systemic research, the combination of the “Analytical Framework for a Systemic Analysis of Drivers and Dynamics of Historical Land-Use Changes” with Grounded Theory approaches have allowed researchers to achieve both creative thinking and novel outcomes, without losing a certain degree of coherence.

a)Historical institutional changes; b) production and external conservation trends; c)the biophysical characteristics of the land; and d) individual cognitive factors have influenced the decision-making process of the landowners in this area. Individual decisions have shaped the landscape, which in return have re-influenced formal and informal institutions and believes, as well as societal processes. Ultimately, decisions and choices affect present and future land-use functions (goods and services provided by different land-uses). The system's dynamic observed in this middle-range theory of human and land transformations pretend to generate knowledge in the way the already aforementioned drivers trigger historical processes (including changes in practices, and changes in understanding and learning). Understanding of the real motives of land use decisions have wider implications for nature conservation, policy and human development.

Thursday July 13, 2017 17:00 - 17:30 CEST
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria

17:30 CEST

3130 Energy and Water in the Earth System: An Integrated Modelling Approach
The concept of global change refers to planetary-scale changes in the Earth system. The system consists of the land, oceans, atmosphere, life, and the planet's natural cycles that are linked and influence one another. As a result, it becomes necessary to consider impacts of global change from an integrated perspective. The ANEMI integrated assessment model is developed at Western University to study feedbacks in the Earth system as they relate to water resources management and the energy-economy using the system dynamics simulation approach. Nine different model sectors are used to represent the system structure, which is composed of stocks and flows used to represent feedbacks within and between sectors. The model sectors include population, climate, carbon cycle, energy-economy, water quality, water quantity, water demand, food production, and land-use. The model has been used to study the dynamics of adding water pollution affects into the determination of water stress, potential for wastewater reuse to limit water stress, and the effect of carbon taxation on economic growth, CO2 emissions, and climate change within the integrated system.

In this work, structural changes to the ANEMI model have been made to create a tighter link between water resources and the energy-economy sectors and to study the feedbacks between them. Capital stocks for water and energy supplies are modelled dynamically in order to examine the development of alternative water resources such as desalination, wastewater reuse and groundwater mining to offset future water stress, as well as the dynamics of coal, oil, and natural gas as sources of energy for electricity and heating purposes. A link between the water and energy capital stocks is made by examining future projected growth in energy recovery from biogas and biosolids by-products from the wastewater treatment process, which is influenced by a projected increase in the level of wastewater treatment and reuse. Preliminary results show that by investing in recovered energy from wastewater treatment by-products, fossil fuel consumption may be reduced, thereby slowing price increases in fossil fuels as the supplies are being depleted.

Current improvements to the ANEMI integrated assessment model are focused on the development of a methodology to study potential feedbacks between drinking water and wastewater treatment as they are related via source water quality and economics. For example, treated and untreated wastewater discharges have the potential to reduce water quality of lakes and rivers, which act as source waters for drinking water treatment plant intakes. If water quality becomes degraded due to increased levels of sediment and dissolved organic matter, the cost of treatment and plant maintenance increases. At this point there is an economic trade-off between investing in increased wastewater treatment and the increase in drinking water treatment costs. The results of the ANEMI model are currently globally aggregated. This allows for the Earth system to be modelled simply in a way that allows for the dynamics of global change to be analysed and feedbacks to be diagnosed. However, this level of aggregation also limits the practical value of model results. A multi-scale feedback disaggregation approach for the ANEMI model is briefly discussed.

Thursday July 13, 2017 17:30 - 18:00 CEST
3rd Floor, Room SR 121, Institut für Computertechnik,TU Wien Gußhausstraße 27-29, 1040 Wien, Austria