Degree Year

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environmental Studies

Committee Member(s)

Md. Rumi Shammin, Chair
Greggor Mattson
Peter Minosh

Keywords

Urban planning, Urban design, Architecture, Sustainability, Environmental justice, Environmental racism

Abstract

This article explores unintended consequences of recent urban design initiatives in Cleveland, Ohio. Historically rife with environmental injustice issues, Cleveland’s built environment continues to exhibit issues of distributive justice across racialized spaces. In this research project, I first investigate whether and how New Urbanist aesthetics are geared towards a white spatial imaginary and subsequently deconstructing its whiteness. I seek to answer: is New Urbanism inherently racist? I then explore how New Urbanism in the U.S. has spread into circles of sustainable urban design, pushing space and place towards a homogenized normativity. Third, I examine the history of racial prejudice in urban planning in Cleveland. Lastly, I analyze census data surrounding neighborhoods in which sustainable urban design initiatives have been implemented or are underway. In analyzing how these neighborhoods are changing as a result of these initiatives, I look for the presence of New Urbanist aesthetics or the realization of some their principles and theory. I hope to uncover some of the indirect effects of projects deemed sustainable. The purpose of this project is to look critically at initiatives that are gauged as sustainable, widening the discussion of sustainability in planning and architecture to purposefully encompass factors related to social equity and justice, beyond the ones related to environmental sustainability.

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