Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 16

Search results for: bolster

16 Cybersecurity for Digital Twins in the Built Environment: Research Landscape, Industry Attitudes and Future Direction

Authors: Kaznah Alshammari, Thomas Beach, Yacine Rezgui


Technological advances in the construction sector are helping to make smart cities a reality by means of cyber-physical systems (CPS). CPS integrate information and the physical world through the use of information communication technologies (ICT). An increasingly common goal in the built environment is to integrate building information models (BIM) with the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technologies using CPS. Future advances could see the adoption of digital twins, creating new opportunities for CPS using monitoring, simulation, and optimisation technologies. However, researchers often fail to fully consider the security implications. To date, it is not widely possible to assimilate BIM data and cybersecurity concepts, and, therefore, security has thus far been overlooked. This paper reviews the empirical literature concerning IoT applications in the built environment and discusses real-world applications of the IoT intended to enhance construction practices, people’s lives and bolster cybersecurity. Specifically, this research addresses two research questions: (a) how suitable are the current IoT and CPS security stacks to address the cybersecurity threats facing digital twins in the context of smart buildings and districts? and (b) what are the current obstacles to tackling cybersecurity threats to the built environment CPS? To answer these questions, this paper reviews the current state-of-the-art research concerning digital twins in the built environment, the IoT, BIM, urban cities, and cybersecurity. The results of these findings of this study confirmed the importance of using digital twins in both IoT and BIM. Also, eight reference zones across Europe have gained special recognition for their contributions to the advancement of IoT science. Therefore, this paper evaluates the use of digital twins in CPS to arrive at recommendations for expanding BIM specifications to facilitate IoT compliance, bolster cybersecurity and integrate digital twin and city standards in the smart cities of the future.

Keywords: BIM, cybersecurity, digital twins, IoT, urban cities

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15 Static and Dynamic Analysis on a Buddhism Goddess Guanyin in Shuangyashan

Authors: Gong Kangming, Zhao Caiqi


High-rise special-shaped structure, such as main frame structure of the statues, is one of the structure forms in irregular structure widely used. Due to the complex shape of the statue structure, with a large aspect ratio, its wind load value and the overall mechanical properties are very different from the high-rise buildings with the general rules. The paper taking a certain 48 meters high main frame structure of the statue located in Shuangyashan City, Heilongjiang Province, static and dynamic properties are analyzed by the finite element software. Through static and dynamic analysis, it got a number of useful conclusions that have a certain reference value for the analysis and design of the future similar structure.

Keywords: a Buddhism goddess Guanyin body, wind load, dynamic analysis, bolster, node design

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14 Perceptions and Experiences of Iranian Students of Human Dignity in Canada: A Phenomenological Comparative Study

Authors: Erfaneh Razavipour Naghani, Masoud Kianpour


Human dignity is a subjective concept indicating an inner feeling of worth which depends on one’s perceptions and life experiences. Yet the notion is also very much under the influence of societal and cultural factors. Scholars have identified human dignity as a context-based concept that lies at the intersection of culture, gender, religion, and individual characteristics. Migration may constitute an individual or collective strategy for people seeking to situations that bolster rather than undermine their human dignity. Through the use of a phenomenological method, this study will explore how Iranian students in Canada perceive human dignity through such values and characteristics as honor, respect, self-determination, self-worth, autonomy, freedom, love, and equality in Canada as compared to their perceptions of the same in Iran. In-depth interviewing will be used to collect data from Iranian students who have lived in Canada for at least two years. The aim is to discover which essential themes constitute participants’ understanding of human dignity and how this understanding compares to their pre-Canadian experience in Iran. We will use criterion sampling as our sampling method. This study will clarify how being exposed to a different culture can affect perceptions of human dignity among university students.

Keywords: Canada, human dignity, Iran, migration, university students

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13 Solar Radiation Time Series Prediction

Authors: Cameron Hamilton, Walter Potter, Gerrit Hoogenboom, Ronald McClendon, Will Hobbs


A model was constructed to predict the amount of solar radiation that will make contact with the surface of the earth in a given location an hour into the future. This project was supported by the Southern Company to determine at what specific times during a given day of the year solar panels could be relied upon to produce energy in sufficient quantities. Due to their ability as universal function approximators, an artificial neural network was used to estimate the nonlinear pattern of solar radiation, which utilized measurements of weather conditions collected at the Griffin, Georgia weather station as inputs. A number of network configurations and training strategies were utilized, though a multilayer perceptron with a variety of hidden nodes trained with the resilient propagation algorithm consistently yielded the most accurate predictions. In addition, a modeled DNI field and adjacent weather station data were used to bolster prediction accuracy. In later trials, the solar radiation field was preprocessed with a discrete wavelet transform with the aim of removing noise from the measurements. The current model provides predictions of solar radiation with a mean square error of 0.0042, though ongoing efforts are being made to further improve the model’s accuracy.

Keywords: artificial neural networks, resilient propagation, solar radiation, time series forecasting

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12 Examining the Extent to Which the Effects of HIV/AIDS Is Addressed in Low Cost Housing Projects in South Africa: The Case of RDP Golf Course Housing Project in Alice Town, Eastern

Authors: Tatenda Manomano


The chronic challenges presented by HIV/AIDS globally have come with extreme negative effects on individuals, families and communities as well as governments. Sub-Saharan Africa remains strongly challenged with South Africa bearing a huge brunt of these. The paper examines the extent to which the effects of HIV/AIDS are addressed in low cost housing projects in South Africa with a case of the RDP Golf Course Housing Project in Alice Town. The study used a triangulation of both qualitative and quantitative methods with the qualitative as the dominant method while the quantitative was less dominant. Findings revealed that infection rate was high; prostitution was high; alcohol abuse was also high; and rape and sexual abuse was also high and there was also lack of hospitals and social workers around the location. These findings prompted this researcher to recommend for proactive policy making that can bolster the challenges faced by these low cost housing projects in accessing health and social services as well as massive campaigns that can promote behavior modification among other things. It is hoped that this paper will be a platform to ring a bell to both government and non-government to augment the campaign against HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, RDP houses, low cost housing projects, campaigns

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11 The Ra 9262 (Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004) in the Literature Classroom via the Movie ‘Enough’

Authors: Jay Neil Garciso Verano, Peter Rosales Bobiles


This study tried to integrate RA 9262 in literature through the use of film. It identified RA 9262 provisions reflected in the students’ concepts in their oral participation and written outputs and pointed out different attitudes toward violence against women and respect to women as shaped by the film through their responses. Four Literature 121 (World Literature) classes with more or less similar characteristics participated in this study. The discussion of Paulette Kelly’s I Got Flowers Today took place during the first session while the viewing of the film Enough and discussion of the film followed to enrich and bolster students’ concepts and awareness on violence against women and to introduce RA 9262 provisions. The students’ attitudes toward violence against women and respect to women were lifted from the students’ oral and written responses. The film Enough presented eight provisions from RA 9262 reflected in students’ concepts which centered on the acts of violence against women tarnishing women’s rights and dignity. There were 25 attitudes toward violence against women and respect to women which surfaced, 11 of which are what initiate the acts, seven tell about the results from or effects of violence against women, and another seven exemplify respect to women. With the findings, it can be viewed that RA 9262 can be integrated in a literature course to awaken students’ minds on the prevalent issues on violating women’s rights and dignity. The discussion of Paulette Kelly’s I Got Flowers Today reinforced by the viewing of Enough deduced issues on the violation of women’s rights and dignity, attitudes toward violence against women, and students’ perception with regard respect to women.

Keywords: anti-violence against women, literature, film, enough, feminism

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10 Birth Path and the Vitality of Caring Models in the Continuity of Midwifery

Authors: Elnaz Lalezari, Ramin Ghasemi Shaya


The birth way is influenced by a fracture within the quiet care handle, making a brokenness of this final one. The pregnant lady has got to interface with numerous experts, both amid the pregnancy, the childbirth, and the puerperium. Be that as it may, amid the final ten a long time, there has been an expanding of the pregnancy care worked by the midwife, who is considered to be the administrator with the correct competences, who can beware of each pregnancy and may profit herself of other professionals' commitments in arrange to make strides the results of maternal and neonatal health. To confirm whether there are proofs of viability that bolster the caseload birthing assistance care show, and in case it is conceivable to apply this show within the birth way in Italy. A amendment of writing has been done utilizing a few look motor (Google, Bing) and particular databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, Domestic - There has, too, been a discussion of the Italian directions, the national rules, and the proposals of WHO. Results: The look string, legitimately adjusted to the three databases, has given the taking after comes about: MEDLINE 64 articles, CINAHL 94 articles, Embase 88 articles. From this choice, 14 articles have been extricated: 1 orderly survey, 3 controlled arbitrary trial, 7 observational ponders, 3 subjective studies. The caseload maternity care appears to be an successful and dependable organisational/caring strategy. It reacts to the criterions of quality and security, to the requirements of ladies not as it were amid the pregnancy but moreover amid the post-partum stage. For these reasons, it appears exceptionally valuable also for the birth way within the Italian reality.

Keywords: midwifery, care, caseload, maternity

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9 Living with a Partner with Depression: The Role of Dispositional Empathy in Psychological Resilience

Authors: Elizabeth O'Brien, Raegan Murphy


Research suggests that high levels of empathy in individuals with partners with mental health difficulties can lead to improved outcomes for their partner while compromising their own mental health. Specifically, it is proposed that the affective dimension of empathy diminishes resilience to the distress of a partner, whereas cognitive empathy (CE) enhances it. The relationship between different empathy dimensions and psychological resilience measures has not been investigated in partners of people with depression. Psychological inflexibility (PI) is a construct that can be understood as distress intolerance and is suggested to be an important feature of psychological resilience. The current study, therefore, aimed to investigate the differential role of dispositional empathy dimensions in PI for people living with a partner with depression. A cross-sectional design was employed in which 148 participants living with a partner with depression and 45 participants for a comparison sample were recruited using online platforms. Participants completed online surveys with measures relating to demographics, empathy, and PI. Scores were compared between the study and comparison samples. The study sample scored significantly lower for CE and affective empathy (AE) and significantly higher for PI than the comparison sample. Exploratory and regression analyses were run to examine associations between variables within the study sample. Analyses revealed that CE predicted the resilience outcome whilst AE did not. These results suggest that interventions for partners of people with depression that bolster the CE dimension alone may improve mental health outcomes for both members of the couple relationship.

Keywords: affective empathy, cognitive empathy, depression, partners, psychological inflexibility

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8 Surgical Prep-Related Burns in Laterally Positioned Hip Procedures

Authors: B. Kenny, M. Dixon, A. Boshell


The use of alcoholic surgical prep was recently introduced into the Royal Newcastle Center for elective procedures. In the past 3 months there have been a significant number of burns believed to be related to ‘pooling’ of this surgical prep in patients undergoing procedures where they are placed in the lateral position with hip bolsters. The aim of the audit was to determine the reason for the burns, analyze what pre-existing factors may contribute to the development of the burns and what can be changed to prevent further burns occurring. All patients undergoing a procedure performed on the hip who were placed in the lateral position with sacral and anterior, superior iliac spine (ASIS) support with ‘bolsters’ were included in the audit. Patients who developed a ‘burn’ were recorded, details of the surgery, demographics, surgical prep used and length of surgery were obtained as well as photographs taken to document the burn. Measures were then taken to prevent further burns and the efficacy was documented. Overall 14 patients developed burns over the ipsilateral ASIS. Of these, 13 were Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA) and 1 was a removal of femoral nail. All patients had Chlorhexidine 0.5% in Alcohol 70% Tinted Red surgical preparation or Betadine Alcoholic Skin Prep (70% etoh). Patients were set up in the standard lateral decubitus position with sacral and bilateral ASIS bolsters with a valband covering. 86% of patients were found to have pre-existing hypersensitivities to various substances. There is very little literature besides a few case reports on surgical prep-related burns. The case reports that do exist are related to the use of tourniquet-related burns and there is no mention in the literature examining ‘bolster’ related burns. The burns are hypothesized to be caused by pooling of the alcoholic solution which is amplified by the use of Valband.

Keywords: arthroplasty, chemical burns, wounds, rehabilitation

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7 Development of a Consult Liaison Psychology Service: A Systematic Review

Authors: Ben J. Lippe


Consult Liaison Psychology services are overgrowing, given the robust empirical support of the utility of this service in hospital settings. These psychological services, including clinical assessment, applied psychotherapy, and consultation with other healthcare providers, have been shown to improve health outcomes for patients and bolster important areas of administrative interest such as decreased length of patient admission. However, there is little descriptive literature outlining the process and mechanisms of building or developing a Consult Liaison Psychology service. The main findings of this current conceptual work are intended to be clear in nature to elucidate the essential methods involved in developing consult liaison psychology programs, including thorough reviews of relevant behavioral health literature and inclusion of experiential outcomes. The diverse range of hospital settings and healthcare systems makes a “blueprint” method of program development challenging to define, yet important structural frameworks presented here based on the relevant literature and applied practice can help lay critical groundwork for program development in this growing area of psychological service. This conceptual approach addresses the prominent processes, as well as common programmatic and clinical pitfalls, involved in the event of a Consult Liaison Psychology service. This paper, including a systematic review of relevant literature, is intended to serve as a key program development reference for the development of Consult Liaison Psychology services, other related behavioral health programs, and to help inform further research efforts.

Keywords: behavioral health, consult liaison, health psychology, psychology program development

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6 Developments in corporate governance and economic growth in Sub Saharan Africa

Authors: Martha Matashu


This study examined corporate governance and economic growth trends in Sub Saharan African (SSA) countries. The need for corporate governance arise from the fact that the day to day running of the business is done by management who in accordance with the neoclassical theory and agency theory have inborn tendencies to use the resources of the company to their advantage. This prevails against a background where the endogenous economic growth theory hold the assumption that economic growth is an outcome of the overall performance of all companies within an economy. This suggest that corporate governance at firm level determine economic growth through its impact on the overall performance. Nevertheless, insight into literature suggest that efforts to promote corporate governance in countries across SSA since the 1980s to date have not yet yielded desired outcomes. The board responsibilities, shareholder rights, disclosure and transparency, protection of minority shareholder, and liability of directors were thus used as proxies of corporate governance because these are believed to be mechanisms that are believed to enhance company performance their effect on enhancing accountability and transparency. Using panel data techniques, corporate governance and economic growth data for 29 SSA countries from the period of 2008 to 2019 was analysed. The findings revealed declining economic growth trend despite an increase in corporate governance aspects such as director liability, shareholders’ rights, and protection of minority shareholder in SSA countries. These findings are in contradiction to the popularly held theoretical principles of economic growth and corporate governance. The study reached the conclusion thata nonlinearrelationship exists between corporate governance and economic growth within the selectedSSA countries during the period under investigation. This study thus recommends that measures should be taken to create conditions for corporate governance that would bolster significant positive contributions to economic growth in the region.

Keywords: corporate governance, economic growth, sub saharan Africa, agency theory, endogenous theory

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5 A PHREEQC Reactive Transport Simulation for Simply Determining Scaling during Desalination

Authors: Andrew Freiburger, Sergi Molins


Freshwater is a vital resource; yet, the supply of clean freshwater is diminishing as the consequence of melting snow and ice from global warming, pollution from industry, and an increasing demand from human population growth. The unsustainable trajectory of diminishing water resources is projected to jeopardize water security for billions of people in the 21st century. Membrane desalination technologies may resolve the growing discrepancy between supply and demand by filtering arbitrary feed water into a fraction of renewable, clean water and a fraction of highly concentrated brine. The leading hindrance of membrane desalination is fouling, whereby the highly concentrated brine solution encourages micro-organismal colonization and/or the precipitation of occlusive minerals (i.e. scale) upon the membrane surface. Thus, an understanding of brine formation is necessary to mitigate membrane fouling and to develop efficacious desalination technologies that can bolster the supply of available freshwater. This study presents a reactive transport simulation of brine formation and scale deposition during reverse osmosis (RO) desalination. The simulation conceptually represents the RO module as a one-dimensional domain, where feed water directionally enters the domain with a prescribed fluid velocity and is iteratively concentrated in the immobile layer of a dual porosity model. Geochemical PHREEQC code numerically evaluated the conceptual model with parameters for the BW30-400 RO module and for real water feed sources – e.g. the Red and Mediterranean seas, and produced waters from American oil-wells, based upon peer-review data. The presented simulation is computationally simpler, and hence less resource intensive, than the existent and more rigorous simulations of desalination phenomena, like TOUGHREACT. The end-user may readily prepare input files and execute simulations on a personal computer with open source software. The graphical results of fouling-potential and brine characteristics may therefore be particularly useful as the initial tool for screening candidate feed water sources and/or informing the selection of an RO module.

Keywords: desalination, PHREEQC, reactive transport, scaling

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4 Villages and Their City: Bridging the Rural-Urban Dichotomy Through Spatial Development

Authors: Ishan Kumar Garg


Urban Fringes have been witnessing unforeseeable, haphazard, and ineffective spatial planning systems for many decades. It invades peripheral villages in the zest of the land as an abundant resource. The process, popularly known as "Urban Sprawl", is commonly seen in many fast-growing cities, especially in developing countries like India. The research for this paper reveals significant neglect in rural development policies, which are not recognized as crucial in current town and country planning regulations. This promotes urban-centric development in the fringe areas that are subjected to real-estate speculation. Therefore, being surrounded by arbitrary urban functions, these villages compromise with necessary strategies to retain the rural cultural identities, traditional ways of living, and villages’ interconnections while remaining deprived of urban amenities such as adequate water supply, education, sanitation, etc. Such socio-spatial separation makes us wonder about their right to development. The possibilities of a sustainable and socially inclusive city expansion are also explored through direct consumer–manufacturer media to bring positive socio-financial transformation. The paper aims to identify a rational playground for both the rural and urban population, which creates possibilities for economic and knowledge transactions beyond their local boundaries. This is achieved by empowering the intact community of villages with economic sufficiency and developing skills to pass on to future generations. In the above context, revolving around unregulated urban sprawl, the northeast region of Bareilly city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is also discussed, i.e., currently under the influence of such development pressures. As we see, exclusive developments like residential, hospitality, industries, etc., over the unplanned landscapes are emerging with the development aligned to only urban means, not the rural. The paper ultimately re-envisions urban-rural associations through appropriate design combinations with economic growth. It integrates broken linkages by revising methodologies and encourages local entrepreneurship that taps the possibility of a gradual social transformation. Concurrently, the addition of required urban amenities leads to rural life strengthening and fulfilling aspirations. Since the proposed thesis carries through an inclusive fringe development, the study caters to cities of similar scales and situations that bolster such coexistence.

Keywords: smart growth framework, empowering rural economy, socio spatial separation, urban fringe development, urban sprawl consequences

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3 A Negotiation Model for Understanding the Role of International Law in Foreign Policy Crises

Authors: William Casto


Studies that consider the actual impact of international law upon foreign affairs crises are flawed by an unrealistic model of decision making. The common, unexamined assumption is that a nation has a unitary executive or ruler who considers a wide variety of considerations, including international law, in attempting to resolve a crisis. To the extent that negotiation theory is considered, the focus is on negotiations between or among nations. The unsettling result is a shallow focus that concentrates on each country’s public posturing about international law. The country-to-country model ignores governments’ internal negotiations that lead to their formal position in a crisis. The model for foreign policy crises needs to be supplemented to include a model of internal negotiations. Important foreign policy decisions come from groups within a government committee, advisers, etc. Within these groups, participants may have differing agendas and resort to international law to bolster their positions. To understand the influence of international law in international crises, these internal negotiations must be considered. These negotiations are crucial to creating a foreign policy agenda or recommendations. External negotiations between the two nations are significant, but the internal negotiations provide a better understanding of the actual influence of international law upon international crises. Discovering the details of specific internal negotiations is quite difficult but not necessarily impossible. The present proposal will use a specific crisis to illustrate the role of international law. In 1861 during the American Civil War, a United States navy captain stopped a British mail ship and removed two ambassadors of the rebelling southern states. The result was what is commonly called the Trent Affair. In the wake of the captain’s unauthorized and rash action, Great Britain seriously considered going to war against the United States. A detailed analysis of the Trent Affair is possible using the available and extensive internal British correspondence and memoranda to reach an understanding of the effect of international law upon decision making. The extensive trove of internal British documents is particularly valuable because in 1861, the only effective means of communication was face-to-face or through letters. Telephones did not exist, and travel by horse and carriage was tedious. The British documents tell us how individual participants viewed the process. We can approach an accurate understanding of what actually happened as the British government strove to resolve the crisis. For example, British law officers initially concluded that the American captain’s rash act was permissible under international law. Later, the law officers revised their opinion. A model of internal negotiation is particularly valuable because it strips away nations’ public posturing about disputed international law principles. In internal decision making, there is room for meaningful debate over the relevant principles. This fluid debate tells how international law is used to develop a hard, public bargaining position. The Trent Affair indicates that international law had an actual influence upon the crisis and that law was not mere window dressing for the government’s public position.

Keywords: foreign affairs crises, negotiation, international law, Trent affair

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2 Integration of Building Information Modeling Framework for 4D Constructability Review and Clash Detection Management of a Sewage Treatment Plant

Authors: Malla Vijayeta, Y. Vijaya Kumar, N. Ramakrishna Raju, K. Satyanarayana


Global AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry has been coined as one of the most resistive domains in embracing technology. Although this digital era has been inundated with software tools like CAD, STADD, CANDY, Microsoft Project, Primavera etc. the key stakeholders have been working in siloes and processes remain fragmented. Unlike the yesteryears’ simpler project delivery methods, the current projects are of fast-track, complex, risky, multidisciplinary, stakeholder’s influential, statutorily regulative etc. pose extensive bottlenecks in preventing timely completion of projects. At this juncture, a paradigm shift surfaced in construction industry, and Building Information Modeling, aka BIM, has been a panacea to bolster the multidisciplinary teams’ cooperative and collaborative work leading to productive, sustainable and leaner project outcome. Building information modeling has been integrative, stakeholder engaging and centralized approach in providing a common platform of communication. A common misconception that BIM can be used for building/high rise projects in Indian Construction Industry, while this paper discusses of the implementation of BIM processes/methodologies in water and waste water industry. It elucidates about BIM 4D planning and constructability reviews of a Sewage Treatment Plant in India. Conventional construction planning and logistics management involves a blend of experience coupled with imagination. Even though the excerpts or judgments or lessons learnt gained from veterans might be predictive and helpful, but the uncertainty factor persists. This paper shall delve about the case study of real time implementation of BIM 4D planning protocols for one of the Sewage Treatment Plant of Dravyavati River Rejuvenation Project in India and develops a Time Liner to identify logistics planning and clash detection. With this BIM processes, we shall find that there will be significant reduction of duplication of tasks and reworks. Also another benefit achieved will be better visualization and workarounds during conception stage and enables for early involvement of the stakeholders in the Project Life cycle of Sewage Treatment Plant construction. Moreover, we have also taken an opinion poll of the benefits accrued utilizing BIM processes versus traditional paper based communication like 2D and 3D CAD tools. Thus this paper concludes with BIM framework for Sewage Treatment Plant construction which will achieve optimal construction co-ordination advantages like 4D construction sequencing, interference checking, clash detection checking and resolutions by primary engagement of all key stakeholders thereby identifying potential risks and subsequent creation of risk response strategies. However, certain hiccups like hesitancy in adoption of BIM technology by naïve users and availability of proficient BIM trainers in India poses a phenomenal impediment. Hence the nurture of BIM processes from conception, construction and till commissioning, operation and maintenance along with deconstruction of a project’s life cycle is highly essential for Indian Construction Industry in this digital era.

Keywords: integrated BIM workflow, 4D planning with BIM, building information modeling, clash detection and visualization, constructability reviews, project life cycle

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1 A Model for Analysing Argumentative Structures and Online Deliberation in User-Generated Comments to the Website of a South African Newspaper

Authors: Marthinus Conradie


The conversational dynamics of democratically orientated deliberation continue to stimulate critical scholarship for its potential to bolster robust engagement between different sections of pluralist societies. Several axes of deliberation that have attracted academic attention include face-to-face vs. online interaction, and citizen-to-citizen communication vs. engagement between citizens and political elites. In all these areas, numerous researchers have explored deliberative procedures aimed at achieving instrumental goals such a securing consensus on policy issues, against procedures that prioritise expressive outcomes such as broadening the range of argumentative repertoires that discursively construct and mediate specific political issues. The study that informs this paper, works in the latter stream. Drawing its data from the reader-comments section of a South African broadsheet newspaper, the study investigates online, citizen-to-citizen deliberation by analysing the discursive practices through which competing understandings of social problems are articulated and contested. To advance this agenda, the paper deals specifically with user-generated comments posted in response to news stories on questions of race and racism in South Africa. The analysis works to discern and interpret the various sets of discourse practices that shape how citizens deliberate contentious political issues, especially racism. Since the website in question is designed to encourage the critical comparison of divergent interpretations of news events, without feeding directly into national policymaking, the study adopts an analytic framework that traces how citizens articulate arguments, rather than the instrumental effects that citizen deliberations might exert on policy. The paper starts from the argument that such expressive interactions are particularly crucial to current trends in South African politics, given that the precise nature of race and racism remain contested and uncertain. Centred on a sample of 2358 conversational moves in 814 posts to 18 news stories emanating from issues of race and racism, the analysis proceeds in a two-step fashion. The first stage conducts a qualitative content analysis that offers insights into the levels of reciprocity among commenters (do readers engage with each other or simply post isolated opinions?), as well as the structures of argumentation (do readers support opinions by citing evidence?). The second stage involves a more fine-grained discourse analysis, based on a theorisation of argumentation that delineates it into three components: opinions/conclusions, evidence/data to support opinions/conclusions and warrants that explicate precisely how evidence/data buttress opinions/conclusions. By tracing the manifestation and frequency of specific argumentative practices, this study contributes to the archive of research currently aggregating around the practices that characterise South Africans’ engagement with provocative political questions, especially racism and racial inequity. Additionally, the study also contributes to recent scholarship on the affordances of Web 2.0 software by eschewing a simplistic bifurcation between cyber-optimist vs. pessimism, in favour of a more nuanced and context-specific analysis of the patterns that structure online deliberation.

Keywords: online deliberation, discourse analysis, qualitative content analysis, racism

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