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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Regional Planning

Degree Type

Master of Regional Planning (M.R.P.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Our future is more uncertain than ever as a result of myriad environmental problems that require communal responses. In order to build resilient communities and to increase the effectiveness of planned changes to built environments, it is crucial to involve local communities throughout the decision-making processes. However, in Romania, the traditions of top-down governance from its communist period still hold sway among elected leaders - and, in some cases, its citizens. This is problematic because scholars have argued that top-down approaches to environment-related projects are more likely to fail than bottom-up initiatives that are more inclusive of community interests. This begs the question: How can we more meaningfully involve and empower the citizens in Romania? In order to help address that question, I examined four factors that might affect the place-related actions that individuals are willing to take in the post-communist state of Romania: the amount of social capital a place has (Predescu 2020; Lewicka 2005), the quality of participation infrastructure available to the place (Nabatchi and Leighninger 2015), the levels of trust in local authorities at that place (Badescu and Uslaner 2004), and the perceived levels of political efficacy they have (Manzo and Perkins 2006).

Using Photovoice methodology, I heard from 22 individuals who feel a connection with the town of Targoviste, Romania about their experience with place-related actions in Targoviste and how historical traditions and legacies from communist times have constrained their ability to be involved in place-related decision-making actions. The results illustrate that the lack of participation infrastructure, the low quality of social capital, the lack of trust in the local authorities, and the feelings of low political efficacy were identified by highly-attached study participants as major barriers to taking place-related actions in the town of Targoviste, Romania. Participants expressed a desire to have a more meaningful role in decision-making processes related to the town’s-built environment, and contended that involving the community in such processes would benefit the overall quality of life in the community.


First Advisor

Elisabeth Infield

Second Advisor

Camille Barchers

Third Advisor

Krista Harper

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License