Comparing Visual and Cognitive Perceptions of Rural Character in Small Towns and Unincorporated Settlements Thesis uri icon



  • Thesis (M.LA., Landscape Architecture) -- University of Idaho, December 2014 | This thesis investigates similarities and differences between how residents of small, incorporated rural towns and residents of unincorporated rural communities define and identify rural character. Using a variation of Conceptual Content Cognitive Mapping and a photo-questionnaire, the responses of residents from different types of rural communities in Idaho are used to develop a model to explain how residential preferences for scale and context influence rural character and informal community design. The findings suggest that residents of unincorporated and incorporated rural communities use similar concepts when defining rural character, but identify it differently in the landscape and built environment. The differences suggest that scale and context appropriateness in the presence of a dominant traditional land use influences the visual perception of rural character, despite the use of common tangible and intangible concepts when defining it.

publication date

  • December 1, 2014