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Reimagining Reno: An Examination of Imaginary and Material Landscapes of Renewal through the Lens of the Mid-Century Motel
AuthorCulleton, Lauren A
AdvisorWhite, Carolyn L.
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The urban imaginary has been offered as a tool for conceiving the interaction between the meanings that places hold in popular imagination and the way these meanings are materialized through a variety of spatialized practices. This thesis examines this interaction, particularly the ways that the imaginary is translated into the material through the rhetoric of renewal and reimagining. I use three urban imaginaries, The Renewal Imaginary, The Planning Imaginary, and The Preservation Imaginary to highlight this interaction, examining the ways that the rhetoric of both blight and renewal normalize precarious environments and how these precarious environments rework the palimpsest nature of cities and conceal place histories. This thesis marries the themes that drive contemporary archaeology with the practice of historic preservation in order to both critically explore the precarious conditions of urban revitalization and address the difficulty in applying traditional preservation approaches to ordinary and ubiquitous building types like motels.