Environmental Science students of CCARPH Defend Thesis Proposal on Modeling Urban Ecosystem Resilience

Last October 9, 2019, Joaquin Ignacio D. Compos, and Joseph Emanuel C. Litam, senior students of BS Environmental Science program of the Ateneo de Manila University successfully defended their thesis proposal entitled, “Developing an Urban Ecosystem Resilience Index Using a System Dynamics Approach.” They are being advised by Charlotte Kendra Gotangco Gonzales, and Jairus Josol, with assistance in data-gathering by Jean Jardeleza, who are all CCARPH researchers, as well as faculty and staff of the Department of Envrionmental Science, and the Ateneo Institute of Sustainability. The defended thesis proposal contributes to the CCARPH Work Theme 2: “Developing City Resilience Suite of Tools for Local Government Units.” The abstract of the thesis proposal reads as follows:

The research aims to assess Urban Ecosystem Resilience of Pasig and Valenzuela City in Metro Manila using a System Dynamics approach. Specifically, it aims to develop an Urban Ecosystem Resilience Index (UERI) to serve as a decision support tool for local governments. The index will be operationalized using Vensim®, a system dynamics platform, to understand long term behavior of cities as socio-ecological systems. In particular, it traces the changes and interactions of urban ecosystem services, urbanization, and long-term hazards such as changes in precipitation. Developing the model will involve creating a stock flow model to show the resilience the urban ecosystem by simulating the delivery of ecosystem services and their trade-offs over time. Sensitivity analysis will also be conducted to determine key variables that contribute the most to urban ecosystem resilience. The model will be validated through key informant interview (KII) with relevant stakeholders such as the local government unit. Lastly, scenario testing will be done to simulate future development scenarios based on proposed development pathways by the LGU obtained from the KII.

The proposed Urban Ecosystem Resilience Index (UERI) will be simulated dynamically over time as a measure of a city’s ability to adapt and transform, in the face of socio-economic and demographic changes, as well as on the long-term hazards, in order to sustain the delivery of urban ecosystem services to achieve sustainable development. These ecosystem services can be classified into four major categories: provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services. This model will be combined with another system dynamics-based model for the non-ecosystem services, such as socio-economic factors, education services, health services, ICT services, and disaster and emergency management services. Junior RA, Katrina Abenojar, also of the BS Environmental Science program and now completing a double major in Economics, is currently working on this non-ecosystem services model under the supervision of Gotangco, Josol, and Jardeleza.

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