Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Katrina Mullan

Commitee Members

Douglas Dalenberg, Elizabeth Metcalf


natural amenities, rural development, economics, multilevel, random effectts


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Econometrics | Growth and Development | Regional Economics


As rural communities began seeing increased rates of growth following the rural rebound of the 1970’s, many studies have examined the causes and consequences of this shift through the lens of regional amenities and migration trends. Additionally, as development patterns have moved outwards from concentrated growth in urban areas to sprawling development at the rural-urban fringe, many studies have examined the locations of rural development in relation to open space and the amenities it provides. However, examinations of the relationship between these two processes have been severely lacking in the field of land use studies, despite widespread acknowledgement that the scale of analysis influences observed patterns and conclusions reached. Therefore, this analysis implements a multilevel random intercept probit model relating fine-scale development patterns to natural amenities and accessibility characteristics measured at that level, as well as community-wide measures of natural amenities, accessibility, and socioeconomic characteristics. In doing so, this analysis finds a number of natural amenities that significantly influence which communities see development, amenities that influence where that development occurs around communities, as well as some amenities that play significant roles in both processes. Furthermore, the findings presented here suggest that natural amenities have a stronger influence on development in New West communities as well as less remote communities. Combined, these results provide important insights for rural communities trying to capitalize on the benefits of economic growth while conserving the ecological integrity of the landscape that is driving that growth.



© Copyright 2018 Dawson Reisig