Date of Award


Document Type

Terminal Project

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Committee Member

Dr. Martin Holland, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Matthew Powers

Committee Member

Dr. Thomas Schurch


More Americans live in suburbia than anywhere else. A major consequence of the development patterns of the past 50 years is that there are few public places in suburbia where all segments of society can get together to do such things as: interact, celebrate, stroll, protest, shop, or just enjoy day-to-day living. Most suburban “town centers” today are big box and/or high end shopping centers. “Town centers” like these are neither socially equitable nor resilient. This study focuses on the design of town centers in suburbia. The goal of this research is to discover how landscape architects and urban designers can create successful, socially equitable, and resilient town centers in suburbia.

The study examines existing literature from the following bodies of knowledge: town center design, New Urbanism, and retrofitting suburbia. The overlaps between the three bodies of knowledge informs a theoretical framework. The study analyzes the design of renowned “successful” suburban town centers in contrast with the design of a socially equitable and resilient suburban town center. The case studies inform design guidelines that help inform the design of a socially equitable and resilient suburban town center in Sebastian, Florida. The study can help people understand how a welldesigned town center can improve the quality of life of suburbanites.