Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 9-30-1988

Degree Name

Master of Architecture - (M.Arch.)


School of Architecture

First Advisor

David L. Hawk

Second Advisor

Karen A. Franck

Third Advisor

Michael Mostoller


The subject of the study is development change as it impacts the identity of small cities. Can small city development problems be analyzed as smaller versions of big city problems, thereby requiring smaller versions of big city design and planning solutions, or do they require responses different than reduced scale of form and land use?

The specific problem context is Ottawa, Illinois, a city in which past developments and plans for future change are representative of a large class of small cities in the U.S. Many towns of this size are caught in the dilemma of decline through not changing, or growing in a way that removes the qualities that made the small town environment attractive in the first place. Ottawa has a rich physical and cultural context and history, including having been the location of the Lincoln -Douglas debates.

Historical contextual analysis is seen as an important means to establish the qualities of the existing setting, and as a basis to derive rules for managing change. Visual image and historic identity help guide the setting of these rules. The framework this proves may be applicable to many other small cities and their development problems. The characteristics of the existing and proposed Ottawa are illustrated in drawings and photographs. Alternatives for development are presented via three scenarios for development of a specific site adjacent to the downtown. The goal of the thesis is to arrive at a structure for evolutionary, adaptive change.

Included in

Architecture Commons



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