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Using social design to visualize outcomes of sustainable tourism planning: a multiphase, transdisciplinary approach

Doug Arbogast (Community Resources and Economic Development, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Peter Butler (Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Eve Faulkes (School of Art and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Daniel Eades (Community Resources and Economic Development, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Jinyang Deng (Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Kudzayi Maumbe (Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
David Smaldone (Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 8 May 2020

Issue publication date: 22 May 2020

774

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

This paper investigates the role of social design in a transdisciplinary, multiphase project to support sustainable tourism planning.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding for this research project was provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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