Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Christiane von Reichert

Commitee Members

Thomas Sullivan, Daisy Rooks


Brennan's Wave, Max Wave, Actor-Network Theory, Planning


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Human Geography | Nature and Society Relations


Brennan’s Wave, in downtown Missoula, has become an iconic feature of the town. Through the diligent work of a group of community advocates a dangerous and unsightly irrigation diversion structure was repurposed to include a recreation feature in the middle of the river that improved safety while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of the structure. The success of Brennan’s Wave has led to its replication through the planning of another memorial wave, the Max Wave, to be built downstream at the site of a similar irrigation structure. This study investigates how these structures are planned for and built by utilizing an actor-network approach. Actor-Network Theory (ANT) addresses the complexity and heterogeneity of influential actors through its symmetrical view of human and non-human actors. The creation of an actor-network accountable for the surfing waves enables other emergent issues surrounding the downtown river corridor to be addressed as well. The implications of ANT in relation to urban planning are also discussed.



© Copyright 2015 Alexander S. Pichacz Jr.