Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture


Communities are predominantly developed with one type of dwelling in each neighborhood, creating a clustered landscape of single-use buildings that requires people to get into their automobiles and drive to their destinations. What choices are people being offered for the types of communities that they can live in? A growing movement attempts to address this question by developing housing that suits a larger audience. The principles of New Urbanism provides a flexible framework for creating communities that are less automobile-dependent, affords residents opportunities to interact, and consumes fewer natural resources. This case study examines Somerset, a housing development in Ames, Iowa, which began as a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND). An evaluation matrix was developed as a tool to assess the design and development processes, determine whether the needs of various stakeholder groups were met, and gauge how well the design fulfilled the principles of New Urbanism. A second TND in Middleton, Wisconsin provided the opportunity to analyze this approach in another Midwestern setting under different design and development circumstances.;Due to a variety of influences, Somerset has evolved into a hybridized conventional suburb. The initial intentions were inspired by a governing city document that attempted to address the growing needs of the city. The three developers of the project were willing to work together to create something innovative, but also wanted a positive return on their investment. To assure this return, they retained their long-held construction practices and perspectives of the marketplace. This study exposes the difficulties faced by a city attempting to guide the creation of richer communities while, at the same time, showing sensitivity to the concerns of its constituents. This retreat from a pure New Urbanist approach should not be seen as a failure in all regards, rather it, should be viewed as a starting point for merging current development patterns with forms of alternative development. After appropriate post-occupancy studies are conducted, future planners and developers will be able to refer to these cases as examples of how stakeholders can influence design decisions, and use them to evaluate the implications of those decisions.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Karen Leigh Fisk Ormsbee



File Format


File Size

151 pages