Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Urban & Regional Planning


Urban and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Kathryn Howell

Second Advisor

Michael Dickinson

Third Advisor

Fabrizio Fasulo


Placemaking is a tool largely employed in gentrifying cities to create social and cultural character in space. However, the informal placemaking that naturally occurs in communities and public space is often left out of the placemaking planning process. Informal placemaking that existed in space before and after gentrification, often by the working class, may find itself the target of policing from class and racial power structures that new residents now making up the majority bring. Alongside gentrification is its use of placemaking as branding for space, which Black American culture is increasingly being operationalized. Using Washington D.C.’s U Street Corridor as a case study, an area that is historically Black with a strong application of Black branding, the purpose and use of informal placemaking in contesting space is examined.


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Date of Submission