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The Rise and Fall of a Great American City: Gary, Indiana


Chloé Dotson ,

About Chloé

Chloé Dotson is an urban planner, sociologist and social environmental activist. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Urban Planning from Ball State University; her master‘s thesis on Gary, Indiana received the Best Thesis Award. In 2011, she participated in the CapAsia program, the immersive field semester in India and Nepal. In Indianapolis, IN, Milwaukee, WI and Brownsville, TX, Dotson managed and coordinated projects and programming for city management, parks and recreation, housing development services, water and waste water infrastructure, transportation and capital Improvements, and maintains relationships with public and private partners and congressional representatives. While employing a variety of methodologies, Dotson passionately engages residents, community advocates, government officials, and both the public and private sectors in an effort to unite, strengthen, develop, and facilitate holistic and data driven strategies for physical, managerial, social/cultural, economic, environmental, and institutional improvements.

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Nihal Perera

Professor of Urban Planning at Ball State University
About Nihal
Nihal Perera is Professor of Urban Planning at Ball State University, as well as the founder and Director of the CapAsia immersive field-semester in Asia. In addition to the USA, he has taught in Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The two-time
Fulbright Scholar awardee: to China (2006–07) and Myanmar (2015-16) was also Senior Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore (2010) and has received three Fulbright-Hays awards. Perera‘s research, as a leading scholar of social space, focuses on how ordinary people create and negotiate their own spaces. His publications include articles on feminizing the city, competing modernities in Chandigarh, competing visions for Dharavi and books entitled Decolonizing Ceylon (OUP 1999), Transforming Asian Cities (Routledge 2013; Co-eds with Tang), and People’s Spaces (Routledge 2016).
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Built for permanency, at the dawn of the twentieth century in the United States, Gary, Indiana was considered the - City of the Century‖ (O‘Hara, 2011). James Lane (1978) calls it the beacon of American planning. Located in the outskirts of Chicago, on the south shore of Lake Michigan, the city was built at the height of industrialism, within extant American social, cultural, and institutional values and standards. Built from scrap, the capitalist industrial utopia stood for inevitable progress, unrestrained production and capital accumulation, unconstrained growth and expansion, and ever-expanding consumption. Gary, thus, displayed American exceptionalism and the power of the United States.

Keywords: Gary, Indiana
How to Cite: Dotson, C. and Perera, N., 2016. The Rise and Fall of a Great American City: Gary, Indiana. Bhumi, The Planning Research Journal, 5(1), pp.12–29. DOI:
Published on 25 Dec 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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