Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

Diane Thomson

Reader 2

Mary Evans

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© 2017 Lindsay S. Brown


Lawns have become ubiquitous and have dominated cities and residential land for decades. Turf covers approximately 1.9% of the continental US, centered mostly around suburban and residential areas that are maintained through large amounts of water consumption, chemical applications, and mowing (Larson and Brumand, 2014). As drought in the Southwest has only become more severe and consistent, there has been a lot of research completed on what policy makers and conservationists can do about Americans’ landscape behaviors in order to increase plant biodiversity and lower outdoor water usage. Many variables such as income, environmental awareness, gender, and historical legacies have been found to have major effects on the kinds of landscapes Americans prefer, but the largest effect on landscape preference seems to be the broad and neighborhood social norms of the area. Local policy makers have been working to change the social norms of neat, mowed lawns as a symbol of wealth and social status by incentivizing homeowners to transition away from turf to native, drought-tolerant landscaping, but more education and financing options will be necessary in order to get better adoption rates and long-term benefits from these programs. In this thesis, I propose to examine spatial landscape patterns over time in Claremont using Geographical Information Systems and Google Earth technologies to better understand neighborhood norms and how important events such as awareness about the severity of the California drought or policy changes play a part in the city’s landscape behaviors.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.