Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture

Major

Architecture

Major Professor

George P. Dodds

Committee Members

Scott W. Wall, Mark M. Schimmenti

Abstract

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Longstanding critical theories on place, memory, and identity can begin to address critical questions that residents, civic leaders, and designers are currently facing in twenty-first century small town America. The rapidity with which many rural communities are now transforming is unlike any previous phase of transition; due in large part to a vastly expanding globalized economy and mass culture. Anonymous, exchangeable environments are quickly becoming a standard condition for these cities, without much attention being paid by neither insiders nor outsiders alike. Often compounding the problem, poor existing social conditions within the aforementioned communities are not only being habitually unattended to, they are exacerbated by the parallel eradication of place. Due to these implications, a new direction in the modernization of rural communities across the nation is required to productively and responsibly plan for their future. A critical look at the roles of memory, place, and the built environment in the formation of collective and individual identities may be an integral step towards steering small towns down this path.

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