First Advisor

Connie P. Ozawa

Date of Publication

Summer 8-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Sustainable urban development -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Sustainable urban development -- Maryland -- Baltimore -- Case studies, City planning -- Environmental aspects, Urban ecology (Sociology)



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 235 pages)


Green infrastructure development is desired in many municipalities because of its potential to address pressing environmental and social issues. However, despite technical optimism, institutional challenges create significant barriers to effective green infrastructure design, implementation, and maintenance. Institutional challenges stem from the disparate scales and facility types that make up the concept of green infrastructure, which span from large-scale natural areas to small engineered bioswales. Across these disparate facilities 1) different performance metrics are used, 2) different institutions have jurisdiction, and, 3) facility types are differentially classified as assets, producing epistemological and ontological variegation across the spectrum of green infrastructure that must be negotiated within and across municipal institutions. This has led to knowledge challenges that constrain and shape facility design, implementation, maintenance, and--ultimately--performance on-the-ground.

Here, the eco-techno spectrum is developed to highlight the different degree to which biological entities (e.g. plants, microbes) are incorporated as infrastructural components in facilities; this inclusion presents a major knowledge challenge to green infrastructure, namely it brings biological and ecological knowledge into traditionally engineering-dominated decision-making spaces where it does not easily fit procedures for defining, measuring, or valuing existing facility component types. Therefore, municipal institutions have created and vetted new practices, protocols, and institutional structures to appropriately implement and manage green infrastructure.

The institutionalization of green infrastructure is examined in this dissertation using knowledge systems analysis in two comparative case studies conducted in Portland and Baltimore. Discourse analysis provides 'thick' description of knowledge systems dynamics within and between different municipal departments in each city; a follow-up Q-method survey is used to further examine these qualitative results and explore the subjectivities that underlie the various ways of 'knowing' green infrastructure in the city.


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