Developing Participatory GIS Methods for Lowcountry Environmental Planning
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The South Carolina Lowcountry has experienced significant population growth and urban and suburban development in the past few decades, which is caused mainly by in–migration. This thesis analyzes the community and fishing economy of the town of McClellanville, SC and examines how these changes have affected the residents’ way of life in a rural area. Data were gathered through interviews, focus groups, and Participatory GIS exercises and analyzed using an open coding method of data analysis. The categorized results were then examined through the framework of social–ecological resilience theory to discuss the characteristics of the community and economy that participants wish to preserve, identify threats and vulnerability to their current system, and suggest methods to reduce those threats. Participant responses showed that McClellanville residents feel threatened by encroaching development and have already seen negative impacts of in–migration in their community. Participants expressed a strong desire to preserve the fishing village ambiance and close–knit community in their town as well as preserving the abundant natural resources they utilize for commercial, recreational, and subsistence activities.