College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Liberal Studies


vacancy rates, Chicago construction history, public-private partnership, socio-spatial, neoliberalism


The research endeavors to explain the absence of office building construction projects in Chicago’s Central Business District between 1976 and 1979. Fourteen office building construction projects were completed between 1970 and 1975 but none during the period studied. Using a socio-spatial perspective to analyze the impact of political, economical, and cultural redevelopment strategies, this paper finds that despite overwhelming neoliberal policies of the 1970s, unusually elevated vacancy rates and cultural provenance altered the course of redevelopment strategies. Among the findings, this research highlights the importance of culturally significant public symbols, such as historic landmark buildings, as catalysts for regulation that resists aggressive redevelopment strategies and influences urban policy decisions.