This paper aims to describe the transdisciplinary, multiphase, mixed methods, generative design research, participatory planning and social design activities developed and implemented by the West Virginia University Rural Tourism Design Team and associated outcomes.
The multiphase methodology included quantitative and qualitative research in initial stages of the study (key informant interviews, resident attitudes toward tourism survey, visitor preferences survey, economic impact analysis) which informed social design activities at latter stages (asset mapping, landscape design/visualization of opportunities and sites targeted for development and cultural identity design) using generative design tools facilitating co-design with the communities and helping the destination take sequential steps toward achieving their goals and objectives.
Opportunities and challenges identified through multiple methods were triangulated and pointed to the same conclusions including the need for long term planning and managed growth; protecting community values; underutilized natural, cultural and historic assets; the opportunity to develop nature-based, cultural and historical attractions; and the need for a common vision and collective identity.
This study makes a unique contribution to literature on sustainable tourism planning by incorporating social design activities to visualize findings of more traditional planning methods and provide tangible, visible outcomes of planning activities which can guide local stakeholders in rural destinations more directly to funding for planning recommendations and project implementation.
The transdisciplinary and social/generative/participatory approach provided a scaffolding of outputs to the community with citizen control and active involvement throughout the planning and design process. The incorporation of social design provided tangible outcomes including site designs and a cultural identity. Generative design research gives people a language with which they can imagine and express their ideas and dreams for future experiences.
This paper investigates the role of social design in a transdisciplinary, multiphase project to support sustainable tourism planning.
Funding for this research project was provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.
Arbogast, D., Butler, P., Faulkes, E., Eades, D., Deng, J., Maumbe, K. and Smaldone, D. (2020), "Using social design to visualize outcomes of sustainable tourism planning: a multiphase, transdisciplinary approach", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 1413-1448. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-02-2019-0140
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