Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Taner R. Ozdil


Many rural Texas towns are being enveloped by urban sprawl. Former small, rural towns with tightly-knit communities and storied historic places are being replaced by mass residential and retail developments. These enveloped communities are often besieged by an uninviting appearance of monotony; their unique identities are often lost in the expansion. Their rich, shared community experiences are diminished (Andres & Plater-Zyberk, 1992). This master’s design thesis explores the concept of sense of place through the lens of experiential landscapes. This study seeks to identify design attributes that contribute to the creation of experiential landscapes (Thwaites & Simkins, 2007) in Texas. The findings of this study are then applied to the redesign of a rural Texas downtown that is currently being enveloped by urban sprawl. This study seeks to illustrate the importance of planning for, designing and creating experiential landscapes for the benefit of small-town Texas communities. A multimethod approach was used to develop this thesis (Deming & Swaffield, 2011). Literature was reviewed to understand the characteristics of sense of place to better recognize how it can be revealed through landscape architecture. Within the scope of sense of place, the concept of experiential landscapes (Thwaites & Simkins, 2007) was explored and is the basis for this study. This research also benefited from primary data collection methods and case study methods (Francis, 1999) in order to study and document the elements of experiential landscapes (Thwaites & Simkins, 2007) for the design of downtown Prosper, Texas. While in-depth interviews (de Wit, 2013) were held with 17 current Prosper residents to better understand the wants and needs of the community, with regard to experiential landscapes. Three case studies examined the design attributes of significant experiential landscapes in Texas. The interview data was analyzed and synthesized using thematic analysis (Clarke & Braun, 2019) to reveal design and program elements contributing to experiential landscapes. The findings from the literature review, case studies and interview research were used to inform the redesign of downtown Prosper, TX. The findings illustrated that the experiential landscape framework can be an effective preliminary tool to structure a community dialogue regarding the sense of identity, evaluate existing landscapes, and to initiate a design program that may inform a small-town downtown design. This framework serves as a basis for creating community places and can be modified over time, through both experience and additional research, to design experiential landscapes that better capture the sense of identity in towns that are pressured by the growth of their metropolitan region. In conclusion, this master’s design thesis illustrates that creating experiential landscapes in rapidly growing Texas towns can reinforce the sense of identity and produce a more resilient community.


Experiential landscapes(Tex.) towns


Architecture | Landscape Architecture


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington