Exurbia as Physical and Social Space: Landscape Drivers and Ecological Impacts of Amenity Migration in the New West

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/293426
Title:
Exurbia as Physical and Social Space: Landscape Drivers and Ecological Impacts of Amenity Migration in the New West
Author:
Vukomanovic, Jelena
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The American West, once characterized by open spaces, low population densities, and the dominance of primary sector activities, is experiencing high rates of population growth related to amenity migration. Those same natural amenities that attract migration are often degraded by housing growth and associated development; however the extent of impacts and the specific features of the environment that attract amenity migration are poorly understood. This change in land use was investigated by first examining the impacts of exurbanization on three ecosystem indicators (fire hazard, water availability, and distance effects of houses and roads) and secondly by considering the socio-cultural and aesthetic drivers of amenity migration in the Sonoita Plain, Arizona, USA. When the impacts of houses and roads on ecosystem function were considered, 98% of exurban areas were "highly" or "very highly" impacted, compared to 100% for suburban areas and 35% for rural areas. These results were striking because exurban areas have impacts on ecosystem function comparable to those of suburban areas, despite the fact that they support significantly lower population densities. The importance of privacy in the spatial distribution of exurban development was examined through GIS viewshed analysis. Desire for privacy was manifested in the home locations selected by exurbanites, with the large majority of homes located where the inhabitants see few, if any, neighbors. Scenic beauty is a common pull factor for amenity and this study examined three visual quality metrics (naturalness, visual scale and complexity) in relation to the location of exurban houses. Exurban households see significantly more vegetation, more rugged terrain, and a larger viewshed than would be expected if they were randomly distributed. There is evidence that visual complexity throughout the viewshed may be more important than seeing the very highest peaks. These results call into question the use of county-level scales of analysis for the study of landscape preferences, which may miss key landscape aesthetic drivers of preference. Amenity drivers have important implications for the distribution of development and can inform growth strategies designed to minimize negative ecological impacts and protect visual quality of the environment.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Arizona; Exurbanization; Residential development; Rural geography; Arid Lands Resource Sciences; Amenity migration
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Arid Lands Resource Sciences
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Orr, Barron J.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleExurbia as Physical and Social Space: Landscape Drivers and Ecological Impacts of Amenity Migration in the New Westen_US
dc.creatorVukomanovic, Jelenaen_US
dc.contributor.authorVukomanovic, Jelenaen_US
dc.date.issued2013en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe American West, once characterized by open spaces, low population densities, and the dominance of primary sector activities, is experiencing high rates of population growth related to amenity migration. Those same natural amenities that attract migration are often degraded by housing growth and associated development; however the extent of impacts and the specific features of the environment that attract amenity migration are poorly understood. This change in land use was investigated by first examining the impacts of exurbanization on three ecosystem indicators (fire hazard, water availability, and distance effects of houses and roads) and secondly by considering the socio-cultural and aesthetic drivers of amenity migration in the Sonoita Plain, Arizona, USA. When the impacts of houses and roads on ecosystem function were considered, 98% of exurban areas were "highly" or "very highly" impacted, compared to 100% for suburban areas and 35% for rural areas. These results were striking because exurban areas have impacts on ecosystem function comparable to those of suburban areas, despite the fact that they support significantly lower population densities. The importance of privacy in the spatial distribution of exurban development was examined through GIS viewshed analysis. Desire for privacy was manifested in the home locations selected by exurbanites, with the large majority of homes located where the inhabitants see few, if any, neighbors. Scenic beauty is a common pull factor for amenity and this study examined three visual quality metrics (naturalness, visual scale and complexity) in relation to the location of exurban houses. Exurban households see significantly more vegetation, more rugged terrain, and a larger viewshed than would be expected if they were randomly distributed. There is evidence that visual complexity throughout the viewshed may be more important than seeing the very highest peaks. These results call into question the use of county-level scales of analysis for the study of landscape preferences, which may miss key landscape aesthetic drivers of preference. Amenity drivers have important implications for the distribution of development and can inform growth strategies designed to minimize negative ecological impacts and protect visual quality of the environment.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectArizonaen_US
dc.subjectExurbanizationen_US
dc.subjectResidential developmenten_US
dc.subjectRural geographyen_US
dc.subjectArid Lands Resource Sciencesen_US
dc.subjectAmenity migrationen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineArid Lands Resource Sciencesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorOrr, Barron J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMarsh, Stuart E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHutchinson, Charles F.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberde Steiguer, Joseph Edgaren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGuertin, D. Philipen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberOrr, Barron J.en_US
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