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Civic Spaces: Rhetoric of Pittsburgh's Parks System

Haynal, Kaitlyn (2021) Civic Spaces: Rhetoric of Pittsburgh's Parks System. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines civic planning initiatives for the Pittsburgh Parks System from the late nineteenth to early twenty-first centuries to illustrate how citizenship and urban identity are rhetorically figured in, with, and through green public space. Parks are often framed in popular discourse as uniquely democratic places despite the contested nature of public space, making them useful rhetorical artifacts for understanding citizenship as a social construct in everyday life. This dissertation demonstrates how urban planning narratives of industry, citizenship, and green space are socially constructed within multiplicities that have always been and continue to be intertwined in Pittsburgh’s reputation as the Most Livable, Steel City. In order to make this argument, I examine discourses of parks and citizenship through the lens of urban planning found in popular newspapers, materials produced by civic organizations, and official city planning documents.
My introduction chapter situates my research in scholarship on citizenship, borders, parks, and urban planning and provides a background on the history of green space in industrial cities. In my second chapter I examine how the Pittsburg Dispatch covers the introduction of Schenley Park from 1889-1892, revealing how early civic leaders argued for the importance of time spent in nature to alleviate the stresses of industrialization on urban living by creating space for various citizen enactments. In chapter three I examine the Citizens Committee for City Plan of Pittsburgh (CCCPP) archival material from 1918 to 1923 to argue that the CCCPP rhetorically linked orderly recreation and spatial arrangement of the city with transforming the general public into good citizens. Chapter four examines the Parks Master Plan, co-created by the public-private partnership of the City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy in the early twenty-first century. The Parks Master Plan suggests a return to a green, civic imaginary will provide a sustainable path for the future of urban development, revealing the city’s complicated relationship with its violent industrial past. In my concluding chapter, I identify how rhetoric of parks played a critical role for civic leaders’ narrative transformation of Pittsburgh from Steel City to Most Livable City.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Haynal, Kaitlynkah216@pitt.edukah2160000-0003-0368-3129
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairHartelius,
Committee CoChairJohnson, Paulpaul.johnson@pitt.edupaul.johnson
Committee MemberZboray, Ronzboray@pitt.eduzboray0000-0002-9433-3409
Committee MemberMalin, Brentbmalin@pitt.edubmalin0000-0003-3610-3768
Committee MemberBlair,
Date: 20 January 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 September 2020
Approval Date: 20 January 2021
Submission Date: 4 December 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 270
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pittsburgh, parks, rhetoric, communication, citizenship, borders, city, urban planning, parks system, industrialization
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2021 18:43
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 18:43

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