Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Waterloo (Iowa)--Economic conditions; Cedar Falls (Iowa)--Economic conditions; City planning--Iowa--Waterloo; City planning--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Regional economic disparities;


In November 2018, the 24/7 Wall Street Journal published an article that called Waterloo, a city in Black Hawk County, Iowa, the worst city to live for Black Americans among all US cities, based on several indicators. This news was disheartening for the local community because it revealed persistent unevenness of development in the Cedar Falls-Waterloo metropolitan area. There are various ways to interpret urban disparities. One of them is to examine uneven development, which focuses on the asymmetrical power relations and accumulation of capital. This Neo-Marxist approach defines uneven development as “asymmetrical capitalist social relations of production across geographic space at varying scales (hemisphere, nation, region, urban area, etc.)”. Uneven development can be studied at different scales, but still, there is a lack of studies of uneven development in medium-sized or smaller cities. The goal of this study is to improve the understanding of geographical and socio-economic reasons for uneven development in two twin cities - Waterloo and Cedar Falls, Iowa. The methods of this study include measuring residential segregation by applying spatial indexes and analysis of perceptions and understanding of uneven development of two cities by Waterloo and Cedar Falls small and medium-sized local business leaders and public officials. The study focuses on business owners and public officials because they are the people who are in charge of making decisions about city development and affect the city environment more, than other people living in that area.

The results reveal that there are moderately high levels of residential segregation in the Black Hawk County as well as Waterloo and Cedar Falls. The dimensions of perception of uneven development by business owners and public officials include the lack of political communications, historical background of these cities and perceptions of citizens about the other city.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Geography

First Advisor

Andrey Petrov, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 81 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download