This research applies mixed-methods, community-based approaches, and critical sociological and geographic theory to better understand the social and environmental impacts of tourism-driven development in the data-scarce region of Hopkins Village, Belize. Hopkins Village is a small coastal community that is home to a seasonally variable population of 3,000 residents. Belize has been undergoing an economic shift from traditional subsistence-based activities such as fishing and agriculture to a primary service and tourism-based economy; over the past decade, an influx of visitors, immigrants, and foreign investors has resulted in Belize's coastal districts' rapid development. This work combines four years of geospatial data with results from 50 semi-structured interviews collected in the summer of 2018 in Hopkins Village, Belize. This research uses qualitative sociological methods, Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS) techniques, and geospatial data analysis to better understand the geographic and sociological concept known as sense of place (SOP). SOP examines human responses to the built environment in the form of place attachment (positive or negative emotional connection to a spatial setting), place identity (spatially linked beliefs about self), and place dependence (behavior or functional attachment). Geospatially linked data about place attachment, perceived community boundaries, and local development perceptions were analyzed using inductive, interpretive methods, coding strategies, and geospatial analyses. The results of this research indicate that the domains of measurement used were not only effective in understanding respondents' attitudes about places in Hopkins Village but in the interpretation of collective attitudes about places and spaces of shared meaning amid the changing landscape.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Graham, Lain, "Mapping Sense of Place in Hopkins Village, Belize: Creating Spatial Narratives to Understand Development using Participatory Geographic Information Systems" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 358.
Restricted to the UCF community until December 2025; it will then be open access.