Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning


Elizabeth Brabee


A community's physical environment embodies distinct natural and built elements, which hold meanings and values that are formed through daily social interactions within that environment. Such elements, however, are not often recognized until they are dramatically changed or lost. As amenity-rich rural areas of the Intermountain West steadily attract new residents, consciously identifying these elements prior to rapid growth is critical to their preservation.

Research suggests that strong social capital has the potential to encourage the identification of a place's visual assets prior to such change. A documentary research approach was used to understand why citizens do not actively participate in community planning and to identify possible solutions from the public participation movement. A framework was built to evaluate existing participation methods and identify specific approaches and practices which could be employed by "citizen planners" to effectively engage citizenry in identifying the visual, landscape assets while strengthening social relationships.