Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Jon C. Teaford

Committee Chair

Jon C. Teaford

Committee Member 1

John L Larson

Committee Member 2

Richard Hogan


This thesis compares and contrasts urban renewal and revitalization strategies in Gary, Indiana and Pullman, Illinois over the past century. These communities were founded under the proposed humanitarian ideals of the model town concept, which was supposed to offer ideal living and employment conditions for working class Americans. Within years of their founding each area reproduced the negative physical and social environment the model town concept was meant to protect against. After decades of neglect these areas sought different urban redevelopment plans to fix their environments. Gary city officials used traditional urban renewal tactics of slum clearance and rebuilding. These plans led to repeated boondoggles that failed to help the struggling city. The Pullman community avoided the destruction of urban renewal. Instead, they fought for local, state and national historic designation and revitalized their urban setting. By investigating the urban redevelopment history of Pullman and Gary, I hope to illustrate the destructiveness, ineffectiveness and greed of urban renewal and shed light on the possibility of redevelopment through revitalization in an urban environment.