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Idaho’s Changing Communities and Landscapes


Linking Sense of Place, Landscape Values, and Management Attitudes to Promote Resilient Rural Agricultural Communities Undergoing Change

Rural communities in Idaho and beyond are undergoing landscape and community changes, including land use change, population growth, and demographic change. These changes can in turn affect well-being, but the ability of rural communities to respond to change in socially desirable ways are not well understood. Our primary goal is to investigate how people’s values for the landscape and their communities, as well as their sense of place, inform their attitudes toward landscape and community change, with a focus on Blaine, Owyhee, and Teton Counties. Our findings will better equip rural communities and land management agencies to make more effective and socially desirable decisions to promote more sustainable agroecosystems and resilient rural communities.

Project Highlights

  • Characterizing the different ways that landscape and rural community change are discussed in government documents and by community members using interviews and content analysis of county comprehensive plans.
  • Developing a set of regional place meanings to identify patterns in sense of place and landscape values and evaluate the trade-offs that may arise when different meanings come into competition and conflict using interviews, participatory mapping, and focus groups.
  • Assessing the extent to which sociodemographic characteristics, values, and sense of place contribute to perceptions of and preferences for managing community and landscape change using participatory mapping.
  • Leveraging previous work from the GEM3 and The Social Landscape of Sagebrush in Idaho Projects.
  • Creating products beyond academic publications include potential for conflict maps to support regional decision-making, a findings report for regional planners and land managers, and quantitative measures for regional senses of place and landscape values in working/amenity landscapes that are transferable to other regions.


Links and More Information


This research is supported by the predoctoral fellowship program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture under award number 2023-67011-40504.