Title page for ETD etd-04252012-112642

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Wolf, Garrett Charles
URN etd-04252012-112642
Title A City and Its River: An Urban Political Ecology of The Loop and Bridgeport in Chicago
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Rowe, William Committee Chair
Colten, Craig Committee Member
Mathewson, Kent Committee Member
  • Chicago
  • environmental equity
  • environmental perception
  • actor-network theory
  • Chicago River
  • urban political ecology
  • socio-environment
Date of Defense 2012-03-27
Availability unrestricted
Today’s urban environment is produced, both physically and perceptually, by a myriad of factors. Through a comparative study of two Chicago neighborhoods along the Chicago River, the Loop and Bridgeport, I construct the network of political, social, and economic factors that create the urban environment of the Chicago River in and along these places. I explore residents’ perception of who controls the production of the urban environment as it relates to the Chicago River, and how the socio-environment is created. In this study, I utilize an urban political ecology approach that recognizes that environments produced simultaneously by social and physical processes are historically situated and that there is nothing inherently unnatural about urban, produced environments, but that these environments are a result of historically and spatially contextualized socio-environmental processes. Using this approach in conjunction with interviews, surveys, and participant observation, I analyze these factors to determine who the residents of these neighborhoods perceive as exerting control over the production of the environment of the Chicago River and how these various entities, along with the numerous processes that influence the environment of the river, are mobilized to serve particular purposes. This research allows me to view the interrelated entities that contribute to the production of the environment of the Chicago River as well as to understand that social factors and pressures that have both historically and recently played a larger role in this production than are often ascribed to them by residents.
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