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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Masters Field Project

Department or Program Affiliation

Environmental Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Miller, James (James Patrick), 1986-

Second Advisor

Laninga, Tamara Jean

Third Advisor

Zaferatos, Nicholas C. (Nicholas Christos)


The purpose of this research project is to understand the ways in which the current land use regulations in Puna, Hawai’i have impacted accessibility to a variety of affordable housing forms. The 2018 Kīlauea eruption and COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated issues in the community that were already prevalent in the area including rising housing costs, lack of housing options, and insufficient infrastructure and access to essential services. As more people continue to move into the Puna District, these issues are becoming intensified. With these complexities in mind, I utilized a mixed-method research approach to study both the physical and social qualities of Puna including an analysis of the housing-related policies and regulations affecting the community, identification of the existing housing typologies throughout the district, and evaluation of the housing experiences of the residents. The data gathered was analyzed to determine the extent to which housing needs are being met. Using these community-informed planning techniques, I have outlined several policy changes that could increase access to a range of housing typologies that are affordable to Puna residents and better satisfy the residents’ housing needs.




housing, housing policy, Hawai'i, planning, community-informed planning, housing development, lava zones, Kilauea eruption, housing needs


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Land use--Hawaii; Housing--Hawaii--Costs; Housing policy--Hawaii; Infrastructure (Economics)--Hawaii; Volcanic eruptions--Hawaii; Puna District (Hawaii)--Economic conditions; Kilauea Volcano (Hawaii)

Geographic Coverage

Kilauea Volcano (Hawaii); Puna District (Hawaii)




masters theses




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