After agonizing over cutting down my material for the 5 page capstone, I’ve turned now to agonizing over expanding it out. Following Liz Safran’s recommendations, I have tried to build out the whole thesis simultaneously. The middle of the hourglass has been quite straightforward so far, with most of the material just being cut over from my final analysis post at the end of last semester. I still need to add in more of the analysis of the policy changes enacted in conjunction with the Orange Line. Owing to the sheer time-intensiveness of my hedonic models, my research in this area last semester was relatively informal, with relatively few notes taken. I am also unsure if I’ve accessed all of the planing documents associated with the Orange Line, owing to their dispersion across different government websites—Trimet, the City of Milwaukie, and the City of Portland. Relevant documents from the City of Portland are scattered across a wide set of poorly-linked departmental submenus, with seemingly little consistency as to the type and amount of analysis/planning conducted by station.
The top and bottoms of the hourglass have required a great deal of thought to build out beyond the outlined sketch that I’ve had for months. This process has definitely reinforced John Holzwarth’s claim that writing is thinking—that there is no such thing as figuring out everything you’re going to say before you start writing. Liz encouraged me to expand the thesis out further at both ends of the hourglass, to the conceptual scale quite removed from local planning documents and property prices. At the top of the hourglass, I have attempted to meet this challenge by turning to a discussion of urban planning as a field and impulse, deciding that its actions reflect an uneasy unification between two contradictory impulses—social reform and facilitation of growth. I frame this argument historically because that forms a major part of how I arrived at the theory. I was influenced some by thinking about another class I’m currently taking, Constructing the American Landscape, which dwells on the history of conceptions of the city, highlighting how many models for acting on the city are shaped in reaction to present problems arising from the consequences of prior solutions.
At the bottom of the hourglass, I’ve tried broadening my argument out by referencing global city theories. I see many parallels between the contradictions in equity highlighted by global city scholars and Portland’s transit-oriented development plans—quite simply, there is often a mismatch between serving the local population’s needs and the needs of global capital and elites. While I think this argument is a foundation for expanding the implications of my study, I am still debating how to integrate it with the preceding text.