Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban & Regional Planning


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Dr. Avrum J. Shriar

Second Advisor

Dr. Alexandra Reckendorf

Third Advisor

Aubrey Fountain, III. Esq.


The Tea Party movement’s effect on local and regional planning in Virginia has received little study. This work identifies how conservative political activism has impacted planning in the Commonwealth and how planners have responded. The study relies on a qualitative approach involving 22 semi-structured interviews with activists, planners, and citizens, as well as textual analyses of planning documents, local and regional news reports, and Tea Party social media. The resultant findings show that Tea Party activism is rooted in deep seated ideals about private property rights and individualism. It also reveals that planning processes that increased the amount of public input had the effect of mitigating the impact of activism. The study concludes by suggesting that strategies based in the communicative style of planning offer an effective way to overcome such opposition while enhancing the many benefits of having significant citizen input in the planning process.


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