Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture


Martin Holland

Committee Member

Matthew Powers

Committee Member

Sallie Hambright-Belue


Although the region has a strong sense of place, Central Appalachia has been plagued with a num-ber of place-bound challenges including landscape isolation, chronic poverty, declining population, economic struggle, and poor health. Landscape architects may not be able to completely solve all of these problems, however they can alleviate the severity of some of these issues through the design approach and the design strategies they utilize in this region. The purpose of this research thus is to recommend design strategies that can be implemented in Central Appalachian towns and cities to preserve place, celebrate culture, and encourage healthy living.

To begin, the literature review describes the region’s natural landscape features, examines how the rugged topography has impacted the populations it supports, and reveals what health problems presently exist within the region. Following this discussion of the existing conditions, is a review of placemaking theory, community design principles, and the transtheoretical model of behavioral change. These theoretical principles are then applied to the region of Central Appalachia. A study of placemaking theory and community design principles specifically, reveals the depth of existing place attachment which is comprised of physical, emotional, and ethical dimensions. A health theory, the transtheoretical model of behavioral change explains the process of changing habits and how changes in the environment can make individual behavioral change a shorter, smoother process. Finally, to conclude, the literature review outlines appropriate design strategies - localism, proximity and connectivity, and participatory design - to preserve the place and improve the health of Central Appalachian communities.