Thomas Kuhn and Michael Pickhardt
Melissa Conley Tyler and Michael Thomas
Michael Mintrom and Madeline Thomas
Public policies and programs are intended to improve the lives of citizens and considerable efforts are being made to increase the likelihood that they will generate intended effects. We explore the neglected connection between design thinking and the effective commissioning of public services. First, we discuss the potential benefits of collaboration and factors that may hinder effective collaboration in the provision of public services. Second, we explore evidence of how differences in the implementation and management of public services can generate strikingly different local outcomes. Third, we contend that design thinking can contribute to more effective commissioning and improve the returns from public investments. Fourth, we use charter schooling to show how acquiring and sharing knowledge of local contexts can improve commissioning. Overall, improvements in the analytical capability of governance systems through the application of design thinking promises to improve commissioning and will generate valued social and economic outcomes.
Michael F. Thomas and Asfawossen Asrat
Although broad-based tourism is well established in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and to some extent in South Africa, across the rest of the continent there is an emphasis on wildlife and cultural tourism. Sustainability concerns focus mainly on habitat loss and support for rural communities. The single UNESCO Geopark in Morocco reflects the wider lack of development of geotourism in Africa. Yet there are limitless opportunities to experience and explain the distinctive landscapes of this mainly tropical and partly arid continent. The geological categories of African landscapes are illustrated as geotourism ‘targets’ and the cultural significance of geological and geomorphological features and landscapes are acknowledged. Resource issues are considered in terms of information sources, access and infrastructure development, community involvement and management. The potential for geoparks and important heritage issues are considered in the context of fresh ideas including the ‘Africa Alive Corridors’ initiative.
Thomas E. Lambert and Michael Bewley
There are times when due to a lack of data or the impossibility of random assignment of cases, a researcher is limited in the use of the usual statistical and experimental methods to assess a particular intervention or ‘treatment’ given to subjects or to a target group or region. An assessment technique often used is quasi-experimental design, whereby although random assignment does not occur, threats to validity are reduced by comparing cases which are as similar as possible. One group becomes a quasi-experimental group which has received some form of ‘treatment’ whereas another is a comparison group which has not received the treatment. Such a research design is necessary when certain economic events occur or when economic development projects or new policies are undertaken in urban and regional economies, and there exist no two subregions which are exactly the same for the purposes of evaluating the effect of the events, projects or policies. Quasi-experimental design offers a solution for assessing the impacts of different urban and regional phenomena.