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White, Gilbert (1911–2006)

  • By: Earl J. Baker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Gilbert Fowler White was a prominent and influential American geographer, known as the father of floodplain management in the United States, although his environmental research and policy influences extended to water resources and global environmental issues. He was an advocate of practical applied research to improve the human condition. White was born in Chicago, grew up near the University of Chicago campus, and spent summers working on a ranch in Wyoming. He credited both environments with helping shape his research interests and perspectives.

Having satisfied all the requirements for a doctorate except the dissertation at Chicago, White accompanied his PhD advisor, Harlan Barrows, to Washington, D.C., in 1934 to work for the Mississippi Valley Committee of the Public Works Administration. The tenure in Washington was

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