Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Technical Communication (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Humanities


M Ann Brady


Life-Patterns on the Periphery: A Humanities Base for Development Imperatives and their Application in the Chicago City-Region is informed by the need to bring diverse fields together in order to tackle issues related to the contemporary city-region. By honouring the long-term economic, social, political, and ecological imperatives that form the fabric of healthy, productive, sustainable communities, it becomes possible to setup political structures and citizen will to develop distinct places that result in the overlapping of citizen life patterns, setting the stage for citizen action and interaction.

Based in humanities scholarship, the four imperatives act as checks on each other so that no one imperative is solely honoured in development. Informed by Heidegger, Arendt, deCerteau, Casey, and others, their foundation in the humanities underlines their importance, while at the same time creating a stage where all fields can contribute to actualizing this balance in practice. For this project, theoretical assistance has been greatly borrowed from architecture, planning theory, urban theory, and landscape urbanism, including scholarship from Saskia Sassen, John Friedmann, William Cronon, Jane Jacobs, Joel Garreau, Alan Berger, and many others.

This project uses the Chicago city-region as a site, specifically the Interstate 80 and 88 corridors extending west from Chicago. Both transportation corridors are divided into study regions, providing the opportunity to examine a broad variety of population and development densities. Through observational research, a picture of each study region can be extrapolated, analyzed, and understood with respect to the four imperatives. This is put to use in this project by studying region-specific suggestions for future development moves, culminating in some universal steps that can be taken to develop stronger communities and set both the research site specifically and North American city-regions in general on a path towards healthy, productive, sustainable development.