Glaciers on Mt. Kenya have been shrinking rapidly during recent decades due mainly to global climate change. In the south-facing upper watershed on Mt. Kenya, the water supply is insufficient for the farmland and daily lives of the inhabitants because of the shortage of water available from both the Naromoru River and precipitation, with large interannual and seasonal fluctuations. No observational field research has been conducted to determine the contribution of glacial meltwater to the water environment in this watershed. Thus, the present study aimed to elucidate the current conditions of the water environment in the upper part of the Mt. Kenya watershed through hydrogeochemical field observations and interviews with local residents.
The range of δ18O values of the spring at the foot of Mt. Kenya (ca. 2,000m) was -4.12‰ to -3.33‰, and δD values ranged from -20.66‰ to -15.91‰. In addition, δ18O values of the Naromoru River water (ca.2,000m) ranged from -3.29‰ to -2.85‰, and δD values from -13.42‰ to -7.58‰. Both of these values were similar to those of the glacier icemelt water (δ18O=-4.35‰ to -1.88‰, δD=-27.44‰ to -9.83‰). We also calculated the high altitude effect and thus estimated the altitude of water sources for the spring and river which are utilized at the foot of the mountain. That is, by substituting the average δ18O value of the river water (-3.03‰; range 1,858‒2,090m) into the high-altitude effect line (E [m]=-380.96*δ18O +3496.4), the source altitude was estimated to be 4,650m. On the other hand, the source altitude for the spring water (altitude: 1,943‒2,089m) was estimated to be 4,718m. These results suggest that the glacier and snowfall on the higher elevations contribute greatly to the Naromoru River and spring at the foot of Mt. Kenya.
In addition, tritium and chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) levels in water samples indicated that it takes groundwater 40‒60 years to emerge at the foot of Mt. Kenya after initially penetrating the glacial area at an altitude of approximately 5,000m. Hence, the present reduction in the glacier size on Mt. Kenya suggests that the water volume in the area around the foot of the mountain will decline in the near future.
In recent years, the utilization of local resources has attracted attention in community development. Local resources include a wide range of features such as history, culture, community, social capital, etc., and are defined as elements that add utility and/or interest to a locality. This paper takes a“ soundscape” as an example of local resources. The soundscape concept was developed in the late 1960s and refers to the relationship between sounds and human activities. Among the elements of a soundscape, “keynote sounds” and “soundmarks” are discussed. Field surveys were conducted on a community development effort utilizing the chirping of bell crickets in the village of Matsukawa, Nagano prefecture, to clarify the process of utilizing the resource of bell cricket chirping and show the role of a soundscape in community development.
In Matsukawa, two local groups organized in different settlements each started to utilize bell cricket chirping. One group collects living bell crickets as a basis for activities, and the other holds hiking events around the bell cricket habitat. The difference between the activities of these two groups was based on their experience of and attitude toward the soundscape. In addition, the utilization of bell cricket chirping as a local resource in Matsukawa was helpful for residents to develop their local identity. It should also be noted that the utilization of the soundscape concept helped them gain a new understanding of their hometown.
The significance of the microenvironment in explaining crime patterns has recently been recognized because crime is concentrated in a small number of microsites and conventional units of analysis may mask lower geographic variability. Crime theories explain spatial variations in crime using environmental approaches based on crime opportunities and ecological approaches. Opportunity theories (e.g., routine activity theory, crime pattern theory, and crime prevention through environmental design /defensible space theory) focus on smaller spatial units such as blocks or street segments, while social disorganization theory, which is derived from the ecological approach, emphasizes the role of social processes within the larger neighborhood or community. Nonetheless, previous studies testing these theories have aggregated neighborhood structures at a single level. In this study, we aimed to explain residential burglaries at the block scale by exploring the impact of different levels of spatial contexts from various theoretical perspectives.
Residential burglary data at the block level for Suginami ward in Tokyo were examined to clarify the block- and neighborhood-level determinants of residential burglaries by using multilevel overdispersed Poisson regressions. A total of 434 burglaries were recorded from July 2009 to May 2011 and displayed a significant spatial autocorrelation pattern. We hypothesized that crime opportunities at the block level and social disorganization at the neighborhood level, defined as an area of neighborhood associations and local safety patrols, affect burglaries independently and simultaneously. Block-level crime opportunities are measured based on the concept of suitable targets, capable guardianship, proximity to crime generators, and environmental design. Meanwhile, neighborhood social disorganization is measured by socioeconomic disadvantage and residential mobility.
The results show that some crime opportunities explain the variability of burglaries within a neighborhood. Blocks with a high percentage of low-rise multifamily dwellings have a significantly higher burglary risk. This can be explained by target suitability and accessibility. Moreover, large household size appears to increase capable guardianship. These findings are consistent with those of previous neighborhood-level studies that investigated the relationship between crime rates and the local context. Contrary to the expectations for crime generators, the proximity to convenience stores was associated with lower levels of burglary. Convenience stores located in urban areas may serve as natural guardians by day and night, while no evidence was found in terms of other crime generators and environmental design variables at the block level.
Furthermore, the results indicate that neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and residential mobility increase the burglary risk independent of block-level opportunities. These findings support our hypothesis that social disorganization increases burglary risk due to reduced informal social control. Neighborhood social disorganization also accounts for part of the variance in burglary risk across neighborhoods.
In conclusion, although theories have been developed and tested mainly in Western countries, our empirical analysis of block-level residential burglaries showed that crime theories integrated at different levels of the spatial context are applicable to Japanese urban neighborhoods. These findings suggest that independent crime processes operate simultaneously at different spatial scales; they are also expected to provide useful insights into crime prevention measures as well as a better understanding of the microgeography of crime.