Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)

Department

City Planning and Real Estate Development

Committee Member

Dr. Caitlin Dyckman, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Shari Rodriguez

Committee Member

Dr. John Gaber

Abstract

Urban sprawl is a ubiquitous term and issue for planners across the United States. As sprawl occurs, planners are attempting to impede the effects (loss of biodiversity, increased effects of climate change, increased interaction between wildlife and urban environments) of converting natural spaces to land uses for humans through the integration of green infrastructure. This green movement (conservation/preservation of land, urban tree canopies, open space acquisition) has helped planners alleviate the resource externalities of urban expansion; however, new issues have risen in response.

One issue for planners has been the increased occurrences of wildlife in urban areas. While some of these species are small and often overlooked, the continued habitat degradation has encouraged large carnivorous species to urban environments. Recently, planners are taking action and preparing for co-existence with species such as coyotes and bears with ordinances, urban form, and educations as occurrences rise. The cougar, also called a mountain lion, puma, or catamount, has evoked several high-profile news events for their interaction within the human interface. Currently, the species is primarily managed by federal and state agencies, but as planners continue to deal with presence of the cougar, urban areas are likely to begin planning for the species.

After reviewing the existing literature of cougar management, nine planning strategies were identified for the mitigation of cougar interaction. These strategies were combined in a matrix that can be used for urban planning departments to assess to what degree they are mitigating cougar human interaction.

Twelve urban areas (12 cities with incorporated counties) in the United States were used as a study for the matrix. The findings conveyed many urban areas are using planning strategies to mitigate human cougar interactions; however, they are not intentionally implementing the strategies to mitigate cougar interactions.

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