Monday, April 18, 2011

Abstract for My Thesis


Urban sprawl, economic imperative, sustainability, and politics. All are important things to consider in managing a region’s scarce resources. Washoe County, Nevada is a perfect place to analyze the tragedy of the commons in action. It is a high desert environment with ample room to grow but the severely limiting factor of water. What mechanisms are working for the region and what aren’t must be analyzed closely. Further, to understand the question, can the Washoe region avoid the tragedy of the commons more fully it is necessary to understand the underlying theories and approaches to the problem. Therefore, a critical eye must be taken toward the definition of sprawl, the viability of sustainability theories, and the political economy of a complex region. By gathering extensive anecdotal, quantitative, and qualitative material on the subject, regime theory—and more importantly its sub-framework arena theory—was used to analyze how geography and institutional design—while important—do not always determine the fate of a region.