Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


Urban and Public Affairs

First Advisor

Carl Grodach


This thesis examines how smaller communities, which often lack the financial resources and the so-called "high culture" or marketable culture found in larger cities, can overcome challenges and develop cultural and historic preservation programs that perform the social function of unifying a community while also providing economic development opportunities that are connected to the community. The paper discusses "authenticity," and how this stated goal of city planners is actually a complex and contested concept rather than an objective standard that can be used to evaluate cultural planning programs. The paper reviews a number of cultural planning methods discussed in the academic literature, including the cultural asset inventory and cultural mapping, asset-based community building, values-centered historic preservation planning, and storyscape surveying. It identifies common themes among these methods: they all emphasize community input and engagement and wide public participation and consultation in the planning process, they assert that connection to community is essential in cultural projects, and they recognize the value of a community's contemporary culture and its future as well as a community's traditions and past. The paper then reviews a cultural asset inventory and mapping project conducted by a working group of graduate students, city planning staff, a geographic information systems consultant, and a focus group of community members from the City of Kennedale, Texas, using an asset-based community building method. The paper selects some of the proposed cultural and historic preservation project scenarios developed during that process. The paper finds that these scenarios can help the community overcome the challenges that smaller communities face in cultural and historic preservation planning. The paper concludes that continuing, wide community engagement and public input and consultation are crucial to the success of these programs, and recommends that the community seek continuing input from a wide diversity of people both within and outside of the community.


Public Affairs | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington