Tag Archives: publication

New Paper: Strategic analysis of a water rights conflict in the south western United States

A new paper by PhD Candidate Simone Philpot has just been published in the Journal of Environmental Management! Download a copy here: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1T8CR14Z6tPQ~k 

Simone, along with co-authors Dr. Keith Hipel and Dr. Peter Johnson, uses the Graph Model for Conflict Resolution to model the longstanding dispute over water allocation between Nevada and Utah. This modeling process allows for new insights into how different actors perform in different situations. Congrats to Simone for publishing her work in a very prestigious venue!


A strategic analysis of the ongoing conflict between Nevada and Utah, over groundwater allocation at Snake Valley, is carried out in order to investigate ways on how to resolve this dispute. More specifically, the Graph Model for Conflict Resolution is employed to formally model and analyze this conflict using the decision support system called GMCR+. The conflict analysis findings indicate that the dispute is enduring because of a lack of incentive and opportunity for any party to move beyond the present circumstances. Continued negotiations are not likely to resolve this conflict. A substantial change in the preferences or options of the disputants, or new governance tools will be required to move this conflict forward. This may hold lessons for future groundwater conflicts. It is, however, increasingly likely that the parties will require a third party intervention, such as equal apportionment by the US Supreme Court.


  • Trans-boundary resource management;
  • Groundwater;
  • Water rights;
  • Decision support system;
  • Conflict analysis

New Publication: Evolving Relationships in Community Participatory Geoweb Projects

At long last, a team publication from the GEOIDE grant The Participatory Geoweb has been published in ACME journal. This paper, co-authored by myself, Jon Corbett, Chris Gore, Pamela Robinson, Renee Sieber, and Patrick Allen, takes a critical view of the general enthusiasm for Geoweb projects. We challenge the commonly held notions that the Geoweb is ‘easy’, and highlight several implementation challenges derived from a variety of case studies. For those working with the Geoweb, crowdsourcing, and VGI, I would recommend this as a good overview of the challenges of both developing these types of tools and implementing them within a community context. It’s open-access, so please check it out!


Civic open data at a crossroads: Dominant models and current challenges

I’ve co-authored an exciting new paper with Dr. Renee Sieber from McGill University. It is currently online first with Government Information Quarterly. With this piece we take a look at the dominant models of open data provision by government and start to lay out what the challenges are for delivering open data. We tried to make this both a reflective look at where open data is, and also to push civic open data forwards, examining how open data works as part of open government strategies. I’ve copied the highlights below. A pre-print copy is available.


  • We define four main models for how government delivers open data; data over the wall, code exchange, civic issue tracker, and participatory open data.
  • We define challenges for the continued delivery of open data, including; conflicting motivations, the shifting role of government, and the fragility of ‘mission accomplished’.
  • We propose that open data be framed as more than provision, but rather as way for government to interact with citizens.

Civic Hackathons: Innovation, Procurement, or Civic Engagement?

I’ve recently published a jointly-authored viewpoint piece with Dr. Pamela Robinson from Ryerson University in Review of Policy Research. Titled ‘Civic Hackathons: Innovation, Procurement, or Civic Engagement?‘, we take a critical look at the recent phenomenon of civic hackathons – time limited contests typically run by governments designed to promote use of open data resources, and potentially solve local issues. Both Pamela and myself have been struck by the high level of interest and hype that many civic hackathons have received, and decided to examine the multiple end points and implications generated from these events. For example, do civic hackathons have the potential to replace the traditional ways that government purchases products and services? Similarly, are these events considered to be new vectors for citizen engagement, and if so, who is actually participating in them, and for what purposes? This is a rich area for future questions, as this paper provides guidance towards a more fully developed research program that critically evaluates the hackathon process and outcomes.

The impact of climate change on winter ski tourism in the Pyrenees

We all know that climate change is having a major impact on weather patterns around the globe. One industry that is particularly exposed to these changes is the ski industry. Though large mountain/high elevation ski resorts may remain insulated from the impacts of shorter ski seasons and more erratic weather, those ski resorts at low altitude are particularly vulnerable to a changing climate. As a mid-latitude, lower elevation (comparatively) ski region, the Pyrenees are one area where the impacts of a changing climate are pronounced.

I have had the pleasure of working with Marc Pons, a PhD student at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (BarcelonaTech), in Spain. Marc has been working on developing an agent-based model (ABM) to explore the climate change impacts on winter ski tourism in Andorra, a key skiing destination in the Pyrenees. Marc’s work has looked at how artificial snowmaking can serve as an adaptation response to extend a marginal ski season, or to ensure adequate snow coverage for peak ski times, such as holidays. The benefit to using an ABM for this type of work is that one can quickly develop and test alternate scenarios. For example, in his work, Marc tests the impact of artificial snowmaking on several different Andorran ski resorts – each with a unique geography and elevation that impacts how effective snowmaking is. Also, Marc has taken into account several different scenarios of climate warming, allowing him to present best/worst case scenarios. I see this rapid scenario development as one of the strengths of ABM, particularly in how it can be used in climate adaptation research. Future work can focus on the skier response to changing snow conditions, helping to determine which resorts, operating in a competitive marketplace, can expect to draw more skiers. There are clear business implications of this research, especially when considering how closely tied a local economy is to a major attraction such as a ski resort. This research will be published very soon in the journal Climate Research, but you can take a look at a pre-print version here.

Social Economy Enterprises and Rural Tourism

The social economy has long been an interest of mine. As a former employee of MEC, one of Canada’s largest and most successful consumer cooperatives, I’ve experienced first-hand the advantages (and challenges) of the ‘third sector’ (not-for-profit, co-op, volunteer organizations, etc.).

Last year, I decided to turn my interest in the social economy into a presentation at the 2009 Canadian Association of Geographers Annual Meeting at Carleton University. I had always been struck by the possibility of social economy enterprises (check here for a great list from the Canadian Social Economy Hub) within rural or remote areas where capital may be scarce. I began to do some research on existing tourism-related social economy enterprises and while there are a few prominent ones, I was surprised at how few references I found. My presentation for the CAG conference described many of the Canadian examples that I could find and theorized that there are two main roles that social economy enterprises can play in rural tourism development:

1) Supportive, such as financing, tourism association, advertising co-op. There are many of examples of co-operative tourism associations across Canada, but one standout example is the Viking Trail Tourism Association in Newfoundland and Labrador.

2) Direct product delivery, such as operating an attraction). There are not as many examples of this category, but another excellent one is North Caribou Farm Tours (FARMED) in BC.

I was then invited by Dr. Rhonda Koster, from Lakehead University to develop this presentation into a paper for publication in the Journal of Rural and Community Development (JRCD). It is a modest paper, more of a literature review and outline for further studies, but nevertheless, I hope that it can start to bring the rural tourism and social economy literatures closer together. JRCD is an open access journal, so you can download the paper here.

TourSim chapter published in Planning Support Systems volume

I’m pleased to announce that a chapter describing the development of TourSim, including a scenario on shifting tourist port of entry and identification of adoption constraints, is in the final stages of preparation for publication. This chapter is part of a new book “Planning Support Systems Best Practice and New Methods” published by Springer and edited by Stan Geertman and John Stillwell. I am excited to have my contribution included in this volume, as I believe that the chapters contained cover quite a breadth of the emerging field of PSS research, from a number of top researchers. In preparing the manuscript, I was particularly drawn to the focus that this volume has on identifying and negotiating the constraints that may hinder the adoption of PSS in planning practice. 

This book will be available for purchase early in 2009.

The image below is reproduced in the chapter, and shows an earlier version of TourSim running a port of entry scenario. This scenario can be run here.


TourSim running a port of entry scenario
TourSim running a port of entry scenario