Intended Date of Award

2014

Degree Name

Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA)

Chair

Dr. David Schultz

Vice-Chair

Richard Strong

Committee Member

Dr. Kris Norman Major

Second Committee Member

Dr. Beth Wielde Heidelberg and Lou Kaluza

Abstract

In the decades after World War II, the United States became a prosperous nation and world superpower. Reinventing itself through the development of suburbs, many communities were created by suburbs. Years later, criticized for suburban sprawl and aging communities, suburban communities today are faced with the dilemma of what changes to make in order to create sustainable suburban communities.

Most of the literature on sustainability and its success comes from the private sector. Much available literature provides sustainable indicators and concepts on corporate sustainability. As a result, many public administrators are faced with a reality that changes need to occur and that sustainability is necessary. However many public administrators, especially in suburban communities, struggle with implementation because they are experiencing an unprecedented journey for which there is no clear roadmap.

Sustainability is an increasingly important concept or policy in the private sector that has also begun to affect the organization and delivery of public sector services. However, little is known about what sustainability means when it is applied in a public sector setting, especially in suburbs that recently has been criticized by sustainable rating systems as not being sustainable across numerous environmental, economic, (Adams, 2006).

This study seeks to understand what sustainability means in suburbs. Using the Twin Cities region as a study, the dissertation will serve local officials and citizens in several suburbs, determining whether sustainability is an important goal to them and, if so, what exactly it means in terms of practice. In addition, this study will compare the Twin Cities area to cities throughout the nation. By studying sustainability in suburbs, the dissertation seeks to improve an understanding both of suburban governments and of the ability to translate private sector concepts to the public sector.