Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Daisy Rooks

Commitee Members

Jill Belsky, Kathy Kuipers


Community Benefits Agreement, Land Use, Participation


University of Montana


To increase citizen participation in land use decisions, local governments often use collaborative processes as a means to engage citizens in land use plans. However, in rural areas without plans, there lacks a formal means for citizens to participate in land use decisions. Citizens are left to grassroots approaches for involvement in land use debates. To better understand citizen engagement in rural land use debates, this study explores barriers and motivations for participation as well as the effectiveness of one particular grassroots organization, the Community Benefits Coalition. To explore barriers and motivations for participation and the perceived effectiveness of the coalition 12 in-depth interviews were conducted. This study reflects commonly noted barriers and motivations for participation such as time and efficacy and also brings to light more unique motivations such as sense of place, ideas about land use, and personal relationships. This study also suggests, that according to the perceptions of coalition members, the coalition provided an avenue for participation, but there were also limitations associated with its efficacy.

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© Copyright 2011 Diane Lisa Matthews