Thesis Title

A Planner's Dilemma: Hostile Public Opinion and Land Use Planning in Rural Southwest Missouri

Date of Graduation

Spring 1985


Master of Public Administration


Political Science

Committee Chair

Denny Pilant


In this thesis, the relationship between public opinion and land use planning in rural Southwest Missouri is explored, in light of the gains that planning has made since the "new planners" school of planning emerged in the sixties. The new planners paradigm calls for public participation/opinion to play a large role in the formulation and implementation of plans. In so doing, the planning process becomes more rational than the older, static forms of traditional planning. This thesis questions whether rational decision making in planning is possible to acheive. Furthermore, public opinion is explored, and the use of it to rationalize or aid in the rationalization of plans is questioned. Planning efforts in rural Southwest Missouri are reviewed from the period beginning with the Ozarks Regional Council until the present. It is demonstrated that planning has been largely unsuccessful in its attempts at solving the land use problems associated with the rapid growth that the area has experienced. Since Taney County experienced the fastest growth rate during the last census period and is the only third class county in the Southwest Missouri region reviewed to have engaged in both planning and zoning, its successes and failures are examined. An attitude survey measuring the opinoins of residents concerning planning and zoning was conducted. The survey helps to demonstrate (through the use of descriptive data) the strong land use ethic that often stymies planning endeavors. It is suggested that a new land use ethic be developed before public opinion can positively support land use planning in rural Southwest Missouri.

Subject Categories

Public Administration


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