Evaluating sustainability of community designs

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Virginia Tech


This thesis explores the meaning of sustainability, in both philosophical and practical terms, as it applies to community design. It clarifies the meaning of "sustainable development" and discusses the philosophies of certain landscape design paradigms associated with postmodern environmental ethics and the concept of eco-development. Information from the literature is synthesized into design goals and objectives grounded in postmodern environmental ethics and eco-development These objectives are used as criteria with which to determine the relative sustainability of selected urban fringe communities: Cerro Gordo, Oregon; The Fields of Long Grove, Illinois; Golden, Colorado; Kentlands, Maryland; Laguna West, California; Village Homes, California; and The Woodlands, Texas. In addition, the philosophies, goals, and characteristics of the community design strategies associated with each of these projects are reviewed. A rating system is developed and employed in the community design evaluation process.



community design, sustainable communities, suburban development, planning, landscape architecture