Land Ownership in Western North Carolina: Exploring the Relationship between Absentee Ownership and Social Vulnerability

Jessica McClelland, Lauren Andersen, Department of Planning and Geography, Appalachian State University 287 Rivers St, Boone, NC 28608

Appalachia has a history of poverty and increased social vulnerability due to long standing economic and social practices in the region. Modern development patterns in the greater Appalachian region create the unique conditions for gentrification and the continued reliance on external sources of revenue based on a history of extractive land management and stunted development in terms of traditional capitalist growth. Absentee home and land ownership are continuations of these trends, supporting rural gentrification as a result of a historical dependence on external sources of revenue. The objectives of the proposed study are to 1) assess spatial trends in absentee home ownership in Western North Carolina (WNC), and 2) determine if and how absentee ownership contributes to vulnerability in communities across WNC. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based methods will be used to explore the relationship between absentee land ownership and vulnerability indicators across the 27 counties in WNC. Through spatial and statistical analysis of the relationship between land ownership and socioeconomic indicators in WNC, this study will contribute to the body of knowledge surrounding vulnerability in a unique yet understudied region. Based on preliminary research and findings, the authors hypothesize that areas with high levels of absentee property ownership will also demonstrate higher levels of social vulnerability. The findings from this study can be employed for the purpose of better understanding, managing, and changing development trends towards more place-based, community-oriented development.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Jessica McClelland

Institution: Appalachian State University

Type: Oral

Subject: Geography/Geology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Oral 4
Date/Time: Tue 11:00am-12:00pm
Session Number: 420
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