Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology
Joan M. Brehm
SOCIAL FORMS AND CULTURE WITHIN MILLER PARK
109 Pages December 2014
This research explores the physical design and usage of Miller Park in Bloomington, IL for evidence of a cultural lineage to Frederick Law Olmsted and for indications that Miller Park functions as a third place locale as envisioned by Ray Oldenburg. The research also attempts to identify key cultural characteristics of the park, document park use, and assess Miller Park's cultural significance within the local community.
Observation sessions within the park and targeted intercept interviews provide first hand data about park usage and physical design elements. Key informant interviews and historical research were used to provide data about the park's history and its meaning to the local community.
Identifiable civic, military, historic, ceremonial, and familial elements help to reveal a culture of Miller Park. Research indicates that Miller Park is evocative of Olmsted's legacy through specific design elements, broad aesthetic characteristics, and types of observed and reported activities. Elements of Oldenburg's third place are present within Miller Park, however the important characteristic of expected meaningful conversation was not found to be present during observational research and was not mentioned within interview sessions.
Park users interviewed within the park, and key informants from the surrounding community, each portray Miller Park in positive terms, with much of the associated meaning of the park connected to opportunity for contact or interaction with nature. Specific park amenities and characteristics associated with outdoor activity appear to be influential in drawing people to the park. But upon observed and reported data, the park also exhibits some ability to function as community capital within the neighborhood community that it is located.
Griffin, Andrew R., "Social Forms and Culture within Miller Park" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 271.