In the context of researching local environmental changes, what do Ashevillian discourses on population growth and development tell us about their relationships and interactions with the environment?

Vincent-Sweet, Stéphanie (2015) In the context of researching local environmental changes, what do Ashevillian discourses on population growth and development tell us about their relationships and interactions with the environment? [Rapport de stage]

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Résumé

The city of Asheville (North Carolina, USA) is facing increasing social and environmental pressures like many other popular destinations. They include population growth that is most noticed through the processes of gentrification and exurbanization (mountain-side-top building), with all of those linked to amenity migration. The social and economic dependency on the natural environment is clear, and yet how do people perceive the local environmental changes that are due to these pressures? The research question here is “In the context of researching local environmental changes, what do Ashevillian discourses on population growth and development tell us about their relationships and interactions with the environment?” The research was led to contribute to the PIAF project, “Programme Interdisciplinaire sur les indicateurs Autochtones de la Faune et de la flore », (ANR-13-JSH1-0005-01), and will later be used in comparisons with research sites in 3 other countries to try to see to what extent local biodiversity can serve as an indicator of wider environmental changes. Two and a half months were spent in Asheville to carry out the shared PIAF fieldwork methods. This resulted in a total of 45 semi-structured interviews and 20 free-lists with follow-up interviews, some participant observation as well as a full ethnographic immersion in the city life. The sample was constructed through a snow-ball method on-site without the aim of being representative. The first chapter exposes the way that the majority of respondents chose to speak of local changes through the lens of population growth and development, and how they associated these to tourism, house prices, traffic, half-backs and more. We found that the growth of the urban population is not just restricted to Asheville, but that the perceptions of the processes of gentrification and mountain-side development, for example, varied from one respondent to the other often because of how differently they had been personally affected by them. The second chapter focused on detailing the perception of the changes to the social and built environments, using the example of gentrification, as seen through the opinions expressed and the use of the land. We found that the arrival of different ideas brought conflicts that served to point out different relationships with the environment, namely between locals and new amenity migrants. The third chapter looks more precisely at how discourses on changes in local biodiversity show a one-directional representation of human-wildlife interactions. The examples of black bears, deer, raccoons and turkeys entering into Asheville illustrated, for the respondents, how development is perceived to encroach on wild habitat. What is at stake is to display the perceptions people have of local changes to their environment as they contribute significantly to their individual, and altogether collective, actions in the human-environment interactions. Local policies aimed at addressing population growth and pressure on resources benefit from understanding what is attracting people to the area, what is the range of values displayed by locals and newcomers. This helps to explain what may be causing conflicts or alliances between people and between people and their environment.

Type de document: Rapport de stage
Sujets: SCIENCES HUMAINES ET SOCIALES > Aménagement du territoire
SCIENCES HUMAINES ET SOCIALES > Etudes de l'environnement > Environnement et société
SCIENCES HUMAINES ET SOCIALES > Sociologie
UFR / Département: UFR Sciences, Espaces, Sociétés > Département Sociologie et Anthropologie
Diplôme: M2 Politique environnementale et Pratiques Sociales (PEPS)
Directeur de recherche: Barthe, Jean-François
Déposé par: Jérome Grapy
Date du dépôt: 17 Dec 2015 14:55
Dernière modification le: 26 Mai 2016 13:19
URI: http://dante.univ-tlse2.fr/id/eprint/519

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