Senior Thesis

OIL RUSH URBANISM: planning for when the landscape is quiet again

by: Jena Nolte (Stanton)



Williston, ND and surrounding counties are experiencing a tremendous influx of people from all over the United States. Throughout the Williston basin the consequences of over production of infrastructure and housing associated with past boom periods have slowed the response to the current development and growth. As a result of this lag in response, some communities in western North Dakota, including Williston, ND find themselves in a reactionary position where they are now desperately trying to catch up as the demand of the current oil boom has far overtaken supply of infrastructure, housing and community services. Resource-extraction growth has the potential to give the community the resources to revitalize a downtown, and build new schools. However, if proper planning and foresight are not considered and if the oil industry becomes the dominant factor in communities growth decisions, the community will be left with detriments instead of benefits when accelerated growth subsides and returned to normal rates. This thesis project examines how design decisions affect the viability and sustainability of the community in the long-term, and what should be considered in order to ensure resiliency to future energy development growth and decline.

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