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Themes

  • Urban hydrology (the development of the water system in Tacoma); 
  • Parks and Green Space (the development of the park system and/or emphasis on a particular park); 
  • Roads and Infrastructure (the development of the transportation infrastructure in Tacoma--highways, rail history, city grid); 
  • Social Justice (emergence and handling of social justice concerns in Tacoma. Examples here could be the Asarco pollution, Native fishing rights, access to urban waterfronts, etc.); 
  • Industrial change (evolution of industry in Tacoma, from emergence through boom and "bust" and into current attitudes towards heavy industry (e.g. methanol); 
  • Methanol in Tacoma (the historical sequence of events that has brought us to this moment of conflict/tension around the proposed methanol plan on the tide-flats).

Annotated Bibliography

In connection with your Final Projects, your task here is to produce an annotated bibliography that includes at least five articles related to the theme that your group is working on. Each member of your group should find five unique sources. You may not include the readings I have assigned in your list of sources for this assignment (though you may use those readings in your final projects). The idea is that each group member develops a degree of knowledge about the topic and that as a group you compile enough material to get you going on your research. Your bibliography should include the following two components:

  1. A 400-word summary of the important findings from your research. This should not be a laundry list of the different points covered in the different articles. Rather, this should be a concise statement that articulates the arguments connected with your topic that you find most important/relevant/interesting. 
  2. A brief summary of each article you selected to include in this assignment. Each article summary should be approximately 300 words in length, and should include the following components:
    • Identification and summary of the research questions, key arguments, and findings from each article
    • Discussion of how this article fits into the research you are conducting for your final project; whether and how you expect to use this article for your group project. 

Your annotated bibliography should be single-spaced, using 11pt Times New Roman font, and 1-inch margins.

Assignments are due in class. 

A note on sources: considering that you will need to be gathering historical information for your final projects, and that such information might be communicated most clearly through newspaper articles or policy reports, such material is acceptable here. However, you should be sure to include at least two scholarly sources (book chapters, journal articles) that can help provide context for your discussion. 

Final Project

In this class we are using Matthew Gandy's book Concrete and Clay as a guide and model for investigating Tacoma from an urban ecological perspective. As we have discussed, there are many different ways that one could approach the subject of urban ecology. Gandy's book (as well as our supplementary readings) emphasizes the importance of history, politics, economics, culture, and social relations to understanding ecological processes, as well as the ecological dimensions of urban development. He explores these ideas through five specific themes (hydrology, infrastructure, parks, environmental justice, and industry). 

For your Final Project, you have each been assigned a theme to work on and a group to work with (we also added a sixth group, Methanol, to connect with that pressing current event). As we have discussed, for your projects you are doing for Tacoma what Gandy has done for New York: telling the story of Tacoma as it relates to the history and evolution of your theme. This is, in other words, about using urban ecology as a tool for investigating "the historical production of now" in Tacoma; it is about explaining how your theme has shaped and been shaped by Tacoma's development patterns.

You may approach this work in a variety of ways: you might choose to focus one or two key moments (for example, Gandy identifies a number of key phases of the development of New York's water system, but places more emphasis on some than on others); or you might choose to focus on one specific event or example (for example, Gandy focused exclusively on "Central Park" to tell the story of 'parks' in New York); or you might choose to focus on one group (for example, Gandy discusses environmental justice through the "Young Lords" group). You should follow your interests and strengths to identify how you want to approach your theme. The key requirements are that you incorporate history in a way that explains the production of current conditions and that you emphasize the connections between social conditions (politics, economics, and/or culture) and environmental conditions (ecology) in Tacoma's development.   

Your final projects must include two components: 

·         A 25-35 research paper (the equivalent of roughly 8-12 pages per person)

·         A tri-fold poster that tells your story using text and graphics

Final Projects are due in class on June 2.