First Advisor

Heejun Chang

Term of Graduation

Spring 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Earth, Environment, & Society


Earth, Environment, & Society




Water resources development -- Oregon -- Hood River Valley, Water -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Hood River Valley



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 170 pages)


An exurban nook on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge named after the Hood River that runs northward from the glaciers of Mount Hood to the confluence seems ideally poised for the kind of relaxed, natural lifestyle that once brought suburban areas their appeal. However, like other exurban areas, Hood River also lies at an uncertain fault-line between economic and environmental transformation in the U.S.'s exurbs.

This study maps the socio-economic and climatological transformations of exurban areas as they contend with different approaches to sustainability and resilience. To determine the major climate and development hazards facing exurban areas and efforts to resolve them, it poses a theoretical framework based on coupled human-water systems, revealing a synthesis between hydrosocial studies and socio-hydrology.

This theoretical framework is applied to social relations using a qualitative analysis involving interviews with local stakeholders engaged in collaborative water resources management. A qualitative assessment of exurban places such as Hood River as "hydrosocial territories" garners better understanding of risk perception, ascertaining the impacts of climate change as the leading concern for those interviewed. A quantitative assessment is used vis-a-vis a system dynamics model, which supports the risk perception of stakeholders and offers effective methods generalizable across different hydrosocial exurbs.

This study shows the correspondence between coupled human-water systems sciences and a multiscalar framework for understanding exurban hydrosocial places. Approaches to resilience and transformation are described, along with paths toward possible collaboration across multifarious scales. Ultimately Hood River and exurbs like it have a difficult collaborative path to synthesizing different economic roles in pursuit of transformative adaptation to climate change and urbanization.


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Persistent Identifier

Included in

Geography Commons