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Title:Integrating virtual world with choice experiment method: case of residential stormwater management measures
Author(s):Golshani, Zahra
Director of Research:Mendoza, Guillermo A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Sullivan, William C.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Asgary, Ali; Poole, Scott M
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Virtual World
Virtual Environment
Choice Experiment
Social Presence
Climate Adaptation
Urban Stormwater Management
Low Impact Development
Abstract:This dissertation is a pioneering study that integrates the concept of social presence to choice experiment method by enhancing the level of social presence while presenting attributes information to participants. I employed a virtual world platform and designed two experiments that are differentiated in terms of the level of social presence while describing attributes of a choice experiment study to participants. The impact of this integration was explored using four metrics. First, the impact on marginal utility (i.e. importance) of attributes was examined. The results showed no significant difference between the two conditions. Second, the impact on error variance and goodness of fit were tested. I found a minor improvement for the high social presence condition, which was not statistically significant. Third, the impact of social presence on self-reported measures was examined. The two sub-samples were not significantly different in terms of self-reported measures. However, the whole sample reported high level of attribute clarity, involvement and motivation. Therefore, I conducted an exploratory analysis and found a significant correlation between social presence and attribute clarity. This finding implied that a relationship existed and the original finding indicating no significant difference of self-reported measures between the two treatments (low and high social presence) might be due to design issues. Therefore, new regression analysis was conducted to test the relationship between social presence and self-reported measures. Significant relationship between social presence and outcomes such as attribute clarity, motivation, involvement, and effectiveness of movie in task performance and decision-making, was found. This is a promising result, which implies that social presence may be able to enhance the choice experiment method. The finding that social presence predicts outcomes such as higher clarity of attributes, higher level of motivation and higher level of involvement may have implications in addressing comprehension, fatigue and boredom issues of participants while participating in a choice experiment study. The possible outcome would be more accurate estimate. Second, I designed a choice experiment to study residents’ preferences for selected public and private attributes of residential level stormwater management strategies. The choice experiment study is novel in estimating the value of residential level LID attributes. My study adds to the literature and extends the field of choice experiment by identifying and examining the role of LID attributes at a small residential scale (micro level). I found that basement flooding reduction and water quality improvement and neighborhood flooding reduction have positive marginal values while maintenance and cost have negative marginal values. Basement flooding reduction has the highest value, followed by water quality improvement and neighborhood flooding reduction. Based on these results, it can be recommend that city planners and designers promote LID techniques by focusing on their ability to solve basement flooding issues. Residents would also be more likely to adopt LID techniques if rebates and incentives to compensate the costs were offered. The fact that people valued the effectiveness of LID in providing public attributes such as water quality improvement and neighborhood-flooding reduction is a promising finding. It shows that people value public attributes and are willing to pay for LID techniques that are effective in providing these attributes. Valuing the neighborhood flooding reduction may have implications for private provision of climate adaptation while valuing water quality improvement may have similar implications for private provision of public environmental good such as water quality improvement. In addition, the data on LID familiarity showed that residents overall had low levels of familiarity with LID techniques, particularly with rain gardens and permeable pavement. They had higher levels of familiarity with rain barrels. Therefore, there is a need for more educational programs that cover different types of LIDs, not just rain barrels.
Issue Date:2015-04-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Zahra Golshani
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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