Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Environment and Society


Joanna Endter-Wada


Social constructions, or frames, often determine how and to whom benefits and burdens are delivered by public policy. Triggering events often open policy windows in which drastic policy changes can occur. In July of 2009, a wet, steep hillside failed in Logan, Utah, leveling a home below and destroying an irrigation canal that ran along the hill. The resulting policy changes illustrated how social constructions of agricultural producers in terms of deservedness and power shifted, both as a result of urbanization and as a result of the landslide. Policy processes are often path-dependent and decisions can become self-reinforcing. Analyzing the pathway that led up to the landslide provided insights into the importance of proactive management and long-term planning of water infrastructure, especially in urbanizing environments. By using policy and discourse analysis, this thesis highlights water management challenges involved in the urbanizing arid U.S. Intermountain West and how planners and policymakers can use this information to achieve democratic policy solutions.


This work made publicly available electronically on September 18, 2012.