Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture


Thomas Schurch

Committee Member

David Lycke

Committee Member

Paul Russell


ABSTRACT Linear Development along major roadways within suburban areas has resulted in vehicle dominated environments characterized by multi-lane highway infrastructural systems, large scale parking lots with impervious surfaces and minimal vegetation and standardized traffic control methods. Oftentimes these areas do not provide for adequate pedestrian and cyclist accessibility or other forms of non-vehicular travel as a result of established road design guidelines which govern the layout of highways including road widths, right of ways, turn lanes, setbacks, and speed limits within local, state and federal jurisdictions. Opportunities for promoting community identity through place distinction and the provision of open public space within these environments do exist; however, analysis and revision of current design guidelines and increases in federal funding must be considered. This study seeks to interpret the evolution of the street network based on development trends and technological advances spanning from 1850 to present day in order to develop design recommendations for the retrofitting of suburban streetscapes that promote greater walkability, a distinct sense of place, increased community identity, and livable environments. Compiled research discusses a myriad of factors that contribute to the successful design of walkable environments. Among these, six major concepts are identified including: connectivity within the site, linkages with other modes of travel, fine grained land use patterns of moderate to high density, issues of safety and comfort, quality of pathways and networks, and appropriate design context. Application of these and other principles should be integrated into the design and redesign of suburban streets. Through the adoption of an interdisciplinary approach through collaboration between traffic engineers and design professionals and the revision of existing guidelines to include context sensitive design principles, increased walkability and community promotion within suburban environments can be achieved.