2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Kelly Hopping


Understanding how people feel about where they live can provide insights into community planning and ecological management. Rural agricultural communities in Idaho have been undergoing major socioeconomic change, which has created unique challenges regarding land use and quality of life for their residents. Community members' feelings and ideas about these challenges are diverse and important. To understand the specifics of these challenges, we analyzed the comprehensive plans from Blaine, Owyhee, and Teton Counties. Counties write comprehensive plans to map out their futures, which provides insight into challenges and changes rural communities face and their goals for their citizens and land. We qualitatively coded sentences from these plans into categories of “challenges,” “changes,” and “desired outcomes,” with further subcategories of “economic,” “land use,” “quality of life,” and “ecological.” Focusing on the Housing section from Blaine County’s comprehensive plan, we tracked how socioeconomic changes have contributed to unaffordable housing, which impacts quality of life. However, expanding infrastructure into unincorporated land also impacts wildlife and natural resources. We found that ordinances and zoning are the County’s main tools for addressing these housing challenges. These results provide insight into how rural communities tackle socioeconomic change while also planning for their future.