Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Candace May


bureaucratization, common pool resource, commons, mission, organization, park


This thesis examines public parks as New Common Pool Resources through a case study of the Dakota Nature Park in Brookings, South Dakota. I identify the formalization and bureaucratization processes experienced by the governing body of the park. These processes occurred as a capped landfill was repurposed and collaboratively managed to serve the community by providing native, natural space and affordable recreational opportunities. The governing structure is assessed using Elinor Ostrom’s (1990) Eight Principles of Common Pool Resource Management, Weber’s (1964) ideas of status and authority and Berger and Luckman's (1966) phenomenological theory. I use three major research strategies: (1) interviews with a variety of stakeholders, (2) observation at the physical park space, and (3) a review of documents regarding the park space. This thesis expands on the existing literature regarding classification and management of the Commons while introducing a phenomenological approach to a traditionally realist rational choice theory. This thesis also increases understanding of the development of park governance over time, emphasizing the significance of stakeholders’ construction in and by their environments.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Urban parks -- South Dakota -- Brookings -- Management.
Urban parks -- South Dakota -- Brookings -- Management -- Citizen participation.
Public-private sector cooperation.


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright