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Publication Date

Spring 2011

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Gary Pereira


commercial landscape, ethnic enclave, Geographic Information, North Fair Oaks, retail signage

Subject Areas

Geography; Latin American Studies


This thesis includes a quantitative analysis of the use of cultural retail signage as geographic information. Exterior signage on building storefronts, as well as the names of the businesses themselves, as displayed on storefronts, is mapped. The resulting concentrations and distribution of language in the commercial corridor in North Fair Oaks are examined for patterns. The neighborhood historical background and demographics are examined in the process of explaining the context of Latino influence.

The results are examined as an aggregate value per census block face. While the usage of retail signage and business name language to help determine the ethnicity of the commercial corridor is not an exhaustive set of criteria without a broader context for comparison, the signage and titles do reveal a significant presence of ethnic identity and therefore do support the identification of the commercial enclave's ethnicity. The combination of census data and historical context as well as the prevalence of the Spanish language helps to identify the ethnicity of the commercial corridor. Mapping the nature and volume of retail signage as geographic information reveals patterns consistent with the census data as well as relationships between data types.