Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis



Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Cheryl Morse

Second Advisor

Rachelle Gould

Third Advisor

Beverly Wemple


public property law, spatial analysis, postcolonial, qualitative, settler colonialism


Shorelines on Hawaiʻi Island are blue spaces, or areas with naturally occuring bodies of water with health-enabling potential. Hawaiʻi Island shorelines are physically and discursively shaped through ongoing, ever-changing unique natural and cultural processes. Benefits garnered from shoreline blue spaces vary from person-to-person. This thesis uses a mixed-methods approach to examine the socio-economic, legal, cultural and spatial dynamics that control access to different types of blue-space benefits derived by inidivduals from shorelines on Hawaiʻi Island. All shorelines on Hawaiʻi Island are designated as public property and coastal property owners must comply accordingly. However, day-to-day implementation of shoreline access laws is complicated by ongoing colonialism. I conducted qualitative analysis of data from 10 interviews with long-term Hawaiʻi Island community members and carried out spatial analysis of how shoreline access right-of-way locations interact with demographic distribution on the island. I found that the implementation of public shoreline access laws does not ensure equitable shoreline access by failing to acknowledge either the variability of blue-space benefits derived from shorelines or the underlying processes that control ablilities to access those benefits.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.