Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Dead Grass: Foreclosure and the Production of Space in Maricopa County, Arizona

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Abstract:  A wide variety of economic, social, political and moral explanations have been given for why the foreclosure crisis of the late 2000s occurred. Yet many of the tensions provoked by the uptick in foreclosure proceedings, their resolution during the foreclosure recovery process, and the insight they provide into the function of American space remain unexplored. This article uses Lefebvre’s The Production of Space as a framework to explore the spatial and ecological contradictions of suburban development in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona, USA, and the ways those contradictions were drawn into relief by the foreclosure crisis of the late 2000s. Analysis through this Lefebvrian lens uncovers symbolic meanings assigned to urban ecologies and their ruliness as a means of drawing legal devices such as nuisance laws and housing codes into a more-than-human frenzy. This article follows a growing tradition of scholarship that employs Lefebvrian insights to identify and explicate urban planning dilemmas.

Keywords:  Arizona; foreclosure; Henri Lefebvre; Phoenix; suburban development; The Production of Space; urban ecology



© Bethany B. Cutts, Michael Minn. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.