Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Ole R. Sleipness


Ole R. Sleipness


David T. Evans


Christopher A. Monz


This study demonstrates the role recreational amenities play in contributing to the brand identity and sense of place in Utah master planned communities (MPCs). These MPCs are designed to enable residents to live, work, and play within close proximity within a styled built environment. While the built environment is often branded with a particular identity, these identities resonates with other attributes of the community, including recreation amenities. The study focused on MPCs along the Wasatch Front in Utah, since Utah’s population, along the Wasatch Front, is expected to double by 2050 (Envision Utah, n.d.). Many of the developments being built in the next few years will likely be MPCs (Costley, 2006). Understanding MPCs and the recreation amenities in the communities will help to shape the future developments along the Wasatch Front.

This study evaluates the recreation amenities in four Utah MPC using a comparative case study method. The case study research was completed through the use of a review of literature, content analysis of the communities’ online presence, the observation of the built environment and focused interviews with community residents, city planners, and developers. This process demonstrated the role recreation was playing in creating a brand identity for the selected MPCs and contributing to the brand identity and sense of place within MPCs.

Utah is posed to grow rapidly in the next 35 years and development will be driven by future MPCs. Utah has a self-identified brand of recreation, which developers are using to enhance the community brand identity of their MPCs. Developers include particular recreational amenities and programs in MPCs in Utah because of how they contribute to communities’ sense of place.

Understanding how recreation enhances the brand identity of MPCs can be applied to future developments and help developers strengthen community sense of place through the use of recreation branding. Overall it was found that recreation enhances the brand identity of MPCs within Utah’s Wasatch Front. Whether it was adding value for the developers and residents or if it was by creating a sense of community; recreation was enhancing the brand identity of these MPCs.