Nature, History, and the Rhetoric of Redevelopment Along the Anacostia River



Kwiatkowski, Courtney

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Redevelopment has the ability to revise a community’s concept of nature as well as its historical narrative. This thesis explores these revisions in one particular case study by focusing on the current redevelopment occurring along the banks of the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. This thesis first examines the historical background of the Anacostia River by looking at the various ways that capitalism has shaped it into its current state, as well as considering the redevelopment and environmental issues surrounding the river. This thesis then reviews plans, reports, websites, published literature, and blogs from multiple D.C. city agencies, development corporations, local nonprofit groups, and local residents. Through analyzing the rhetoric of these stakeholder groups and examining a specific redevelopment project currently occurring along the Anacostia River, this thesis aims to document real life examples of the ways that local history and the concept of nature have been reconstructed and repurposed by development. The remaking and rehabilitating of D.C.’s waterfront landscapes has greatly altered the original story of the Anacostia River and the very concept of nature, sometimes to such an extent that people in the local community understand the history and ecology of the area only as an imitation of the real thing.



Anthropology, District of Columbia, Redevelopment, Nature, Anacostia River