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Branding, Commercialization, and Community Satisfaction in Ethnic Enclaves
Terzano, Kathryn R.

2011, Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, City and Regional Planning.

Ethnic enclaves are experiencing demographic and commercial changes, some of which are designed to attract tourism. This dissertation reports four studies. The first looks at 50 U.S. cities and the prevalence of ethnic enclaves in them. It finds that these 50 cities have a history of 369 enclaves, of which nearly two-thirds still exist. It also found that about 120 enclaves out of the 369 total enclaves have formed in those 50 cities in the last half century. These newer enclaves tend to be associated with immigrants from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Following this study, the dissertation reports on three case studies of Italian enclaves (The Hill, St. Louis; Little Italy, Cleveland; Little Italy, Schenectady) with each neighborhood experiencing a different degree of commodification. This research looks beyond city-level benefits of branding an ethnic enclave and instead uses surveys and interviews to consider how individual residents of these enclaves feel about the changes or potential changes within their neighborhoods.

The survey of The Hill found that the neighborhood remains a largely traditional Italian enclave with its Italian-ethnic residential population, but this population is changing as younger, non-Italian-ethnic individuals move to the neighborhood. Overall, the residents of The Hill are open to tourism as a concept, although they are resistant to specific tourism strategies, such as the development of Italian-themed condominiums or non-Italian ethnic restaurants.

By and large, residents of these enclaves are resistant to commercial change that is resulting from a top-down planning approach. This is especially true in Cleveland’s Little Italy, where a development agency has been the main driver of change, as well as in Schenectady’s Little Italy, where the district was newly created through the actions of the city and a development agency. The Italian-ethnic respondents in Cleveland’s Little Italy seem wary of both demographic and commercial changes to their neighborhood. With Schenectady, survey respondents are the most negative out of the three cities. They indicated that they are resistant to the branding of Little Italy as an ethnic neighborhood and they do not feel that it seems like an authentic Italian-American neighborhood. This suggests that the branding of Little Italy in Schenectady may have been unsuccessful. Through examining residents’ concerns about demographic and commercial changes, planning professionals can learn the importance of having community support for branding efforts.

Jack Nasar, PhD (Advisor)
Maria Manta Conroy, PhD (Committee Member)
Reanne Frank, PhD (Committee Member)

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Terzano, K. (2011). Branding, Commercialization, and Community Satisfaction in Ethnic Enclaves. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from

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Terzano, Kathryn. "Branding, Commercialization, and Community Satisfaction in Ethnic Enclaves." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2011. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 15 Aug 2018.

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Terzano, Kathryn "Branding, Commercialization, and Community Satisfaction in Ethnic Enclaves." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2011.


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