Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Brownfields are "abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination" (USEPA 2003a). This thesis focuses on the practices of public and private institutions to redevelop brownfields in Shreveport, Louisiana, as a means of mitigating potential technological hazards. The theoretical concept framing this analysis is hazards-of-place, a model of vulnerability that proposes interactions among physical vulnerability, social vulnerability, and mitigation efforts. In this model, vulnerability is a process that involves not only the likelihood of a hazardous incident but also the processes of hazard creation and mitigation that occur within social and geographical context. Hazards-of-place is an appropriate model for this analysis because of the roles of urban development processes and governmental authority in both creating and redeveloping brownfields. The thesis describes how processes of brownfield creation and redevelopment correspond to components of the hazards-of-place theory. The review of environmental records, which documents the influence of the quantitative perception of risk prevalent among environmental service firms and regulators, demonstrates the influence of governmental authority. The thesis analyzes the connection between brownfield redevelopment and other urban development processes. The analysis uses property values to compare investment at brownfields to investment in the surrounding properties. The two methods of analysis, statistical and cartographic, yield results with different degrees of success. The statistical analysis did not support the identification of any spatial patterns of investment relative to the subject sites. Cartographic analysis, however, identified outliers that were excluded from statistical analysis but were nevertheless associated with brownfield redevelopment. Supported by fieldwork, the cartographic analysis demonstrates that the new uses of redeveloped brownfields are part of industry-specific development in the surrounding area. The study areas surrounding both subject sites contained several properties that were the sites of significant levels of investment. The activities at these properties supported development of the same industries as at the new activities at the brownfields. These results indicate that, although it does not play a role in initiating new investment, brownfield redevelopment is closely associated with broader processes of urban development.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Craig Colten