Cacophonous geographies : the symbolic and material landscapes of race
Author(s)Brand, Anna Livia
Symbolic and material landscapes of race
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
J. Phillip Thompson.
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Since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, the country has struggled with questions regarding the salience of racial inequality. While the days following Katrina harshly illuminated these inequalities, the election of the country's first black president indicated that we had made great strides toward racial equality and many hoped that we would move forward in this struggle. Yet the ensuing redevelopment of New Orleans indicates that we still have a long way to go not only in acknowledging that racial inequalities exist but also in understanding their root causes and how they shape our visions for change. This dissertation takes up the issue of emplaced racial inequality in the redevelopment of New Orleans and considers its implications for the theory and practice of planning. It questions how race operates in and is constituted by space and how space shapes racial experiences. It asks what blacks have to say about their urban experience and what their visions for change are. By comparing blacks' and whites' views regarding the redevelopment of the city, this research explores their epistemological differences and questions which worldviews are reinforced or undermined by the state. Sited in post-Katrina New Orleans, this research compares blacks' and whites' experiences in three neighborhoods - Treme, Lakeview, and the Lower Ninth Ward. It asks why, given the common history of Katrina, residents in these neighborhoods have such different visions for their futures. It explores how blacks make sense of their racial experiences and use space and their emplaced social networks to overcome the racial disparities they face. By elevating these narratives, this dissertation argues that not only are blacks' and whites' visions for redevelopment distinctly different, but that blacks' visions potentially offer to planning critical understanding of the connections between individuals and communities, between communities and urban space, and a more just and equitable way of reconstructing the city. My critique, from the empirical work presented in this dissertation, is that planning not only fails to fully consider these ideas, but that it obfuscates blacks' worldviews and therefore contributes to an unequal urban sphere.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2012.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 212-219).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.