Date of Graduation

Spring 2015


Master of Science in Applied Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Margaret Buckner


Urban development has been one of the most important trends in the United States over the last decade and a half. Two popular ways urban development has been studied are through stakeholder relations and discourse. Often these two approaches to studying urban development are kept separate, but by combining them one gets a clear understanding of development as a whole. This thesis investigates urban development on Commercial Street, a historic district located in Springfield, Missouri, by addressing three questions: who are the stakeholders on Commercial Street, how does development affect them, and how does discourse affect development. To investigate these questions, GIS mapping was used followed by participant observation and interviews. I found that there are many different stakeholders on Commercial Street who are all affected by development differently. Relationships between stakeholders are defined by conflicts of interest. The way people relate the history of Commercial Street and the way they describe crime on Commercial Street are greatly affected by their perceptions. Because much of the literature on urban development focuses on large cities with an industrial past, this case study of development on Springfield, Mo helps to expand our understanding of development in medium-sized cities. This thesis also demonstrates the value of ethnographic methods for studying urban development.


urban development, stakeholders, perception of crime, ethnographic methods, discourse, historic districts

Subject Categories



© Christopher Thomas Kempke

Campus Only