For decades, the Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model, its iterations, and its critics have shaped the conversation about change and adaptation at tourist destinations. However, few life cycle models consider the designed landscape as a factor in the evolutionary process or as a signifier of change. This oversight is problematic because the landscape, the aggregation of consciously designed spaces and amenities, is where tourism takes place. It is the physical manifestation of the tourist destination and therefore significantly influences how the site is organized, consumed, and evaluated. To illustrate the landscape’s importance, this article proposes a new life cycle model called the Concept Renewal Cycle (CRC), which tracks the intent of the designed landscape, the concept, to understand and document destination change. The model introduces and utilizes relevancy as the variable that determines concept success and instigates action. The proposed model and other prominent life cycle models are analyzed and compared through the case study of Watkins Glen State Park in New York state. While the other models struggle to reflect the evolution at Watkins Glen, the CRC shows resilience by eschewing TALC’s inevitable, time-based decline structure in favor of a cyclical pattern where concept revision allows for prolonged maturity.
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