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Text Box: Knowledge from the Margins: Speaker & Abstract

“Translating and      Codifying                  Sustainability from Margins to Global”

CANCELLED Foley, Rider: University of Virginia

For two decades, citizens at the Motorola 52nd Street Superfund Site demanded evidence that their homes were not contaminated with toxic vapors.  In 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency took control of community involvement and vapor intrusion testing from local agencies and soon after revealed a startling finding: 15 in 115 homes sampled contained elevated levels of a known human carcinogen.  This case study exemplifies how environmental science and policies that govern contaminated sites rarely attend to community knowledge. Theories on socio-ecological systems are underdeveloped in this manner, which contributes to the exclusion of knowledge from the margins. In this article, we examine how the exclusion of community-based knowledge is constraining the resolution of a decades-long conflict.  We ask: what affects stakeholders’ problem perceptions and visions, and thus constrains problem-solving efforts? Participatory research methods including workshops, interviews and participant observations provide the data for this case. The evidence supports amendments to the institutional analysis and development framework out of socio-ecological research with the addition of constructivist perspectives from science, technology and society research. Our research takes a step towards an evaluative scheme that accounts for the factors that contribute to the exclusion of community knowledge at contested environmental sites.

“Accounting for       community knowledge in environmental policy at the Motorola 52nd Street Superfund Site”

Text Box: FOLEY