Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew W. Wilson

Abstract

In the post-World War II era land development in the United States has largely been focused on the expansion away from urban centers and out into the surrounding suburbs. While the development of suburbs began with utopian ideals of spiritual wholeness, their actual manifestation on the American landscape has been subject to harsh critiques about their long-term economic and environmental feasibility, fostering of social alienation, and general placelessness. In this thesis I address the criticism of suburbs as placeless, asking ―What are the particular practices of place-making in North American suburbs?‖ Examining interviews, cognitive map surveys, participant observation, archival materials, and geoweb activity through lenses of imageability and anticipatory action I seek to better understand how the residents of an Indianapolis suburb narrate, structure, and produce a sense of place in their own community. In doing so I argue that that suburbs force an understanding of place as both experiential and social that is beyond mere aesthetics.

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