Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Douglas V. Davidson

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas L. Van Valey

Third Advisor

Dr. Lewis Walker

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Arthur Helweg


Between the years 1897 and 1933, a systemic growth regime controlled the urban development of Louisville, Kentucky. The city’s growth regime was created in response to changing national patterns of production resulting from industrialization, and was dedicated to both urban economic expansion, as well as internal political and social control. The growth regime functioned in an informal manner through the formal organizations of the city by co-opting selective representatives from the various economic, ethnic, and racial leadership pools of the city. As an informal entity, the growth regime achieved a high degree of urban hegemony and was a structural hierarchy in terms of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and social class. To decipher the structure and hegemonic control of the growth regime, a network and positional analysis was utilized. Data was compiled from the membership lists of 196 formal organizations and analyzed to determine the hierarchy and level of influence that the growth regime achieved. A positional analysis was then employed to uncover the senior partners of the growth regime. There were only 38 senior partners identified and these partners were a mere 0.01 percent of Louisville’s 1920 population. However, the senior partners were directly connected to 50 percent of the organizations and over 70 percent of the individuals contained in the data base. It is hypothesized the senior partners were the true power brokers, and that urban government had to acquiesce to a pro-growth agenda as a result of their structural and organizational position. Thus, urban growth was a mechanism of personal enrichment for the senior partners. However, the spoils of growth were indirectly shared by all the members of the growth regime in proportion to their location within the structural hierarchy of the regime.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access