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Graduate Defense: Quinn Anderson

June 8 @ 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm MDT

Thesis Defense

Thesis Information

Title: Re-Mediating Nature: Environmental Entropy, Urban Parks, and the Boise River Greenbelt

Program: Master of Arts in History

Advisor: Dr. Lisa Brady, History

Committee Members: Dr. Bob Reinhardt, History; and Dr. Emily Wakild, History


Urban greenspaces are integral to the healthy functioning of a city. They provide heat relief, flood prevention, act as sites of community engagement and creation, and are home to charismatic flora and fauna, to name just a few of their roles. However, this importance has not translated to scholarly analysis. This thesis aims to address this shortcoming in several ways. Firstly, it introduces the typology of environmental entropy, a framework of analysis that recontextualizes greenspaces as blended landscapes, where nature and culture and human and nonhuman agency equilibrate. Using environmental entropy, the rest of the paper examines urban parks from a historical perspective, tracking the existing scholarship, examining a prominent example of urban park design in the Boise River Greenbelt, and then examines more contemporaneous and international park designs. Using environmental entropy allows for historians, scientists, and policymakers to more clearly communicate their goals and plans for urban greenspaces, which in turn will allow these spaces to cater to the needs of the modern city and its diverse citizens.