Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Katherine Hankins

Second Advisor

Kate Derickson

Third Advisor

William Fleming


In Lowell, Massachusetts, a city with a long history of serving as a magnet for immigrants, the Cambodian community is both the most recent and most populous immigrant group that has helped transformed this postindustrial city into one of the most ethnically diverse in New England. This research seeks to explore the ways in which the development and growth of an ethnic community can influence the place-making process and built environment of cities. Specifically, this thesis conducts a case study of the Cambodian community in Lowell, Massachusetts, and examines the ways in which the development of this specific urban ethnic community has helped to shape the post-industrial city in which it is found, and how Lowell has influenced Cambodian-American ethnic identity.