Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Fall 2020


Community and Regional Planning

First Major Professor

Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock


Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP)


Community and Regional Planning


In this research, the characteristics of the built environment are explored as they relate to one’s experience with opioid misuse. Opioids have become increasingly deadly in the United States, and the solution to curb overdose deaths should not only be framed from the medical or policy sides of the issue. Rather, the professional shapers of and responders to the built environment have a responsibility too. Hence, the following research questions are posed in this paper: 1. What is the relationship between the built environment and the opioid epidemic? and 2. How can planners respond to the opioid epidemic in their communities? The first research question is answered through the review of existing academic literature about the topic. The second research question is answered through the qualitative analysis of one census block group in Mason City, IA’s North End Neighborhood. Findings include that although planners cannot solve the misuse of opioids in their communities, they do have multiple options to mitigate it. Tracking the presence of opioids, ensuring that public health considerations are integrated into planning decisions, and acknowledging their responsibility in reducing the harm associated with opioid misuse is an advisable starting point for planners.

Copyright Owner

Pflanz, Aspen

File Format


Embargo Period (admin only)