Intended Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA)


David Schultz


Tom Stinson

Committee Member

Jim Scheibel

Second Committee Member

Kristin Norman-Major


Urban design is hard to measure. Unlike the bottom line in a financial pro forma, the quality of urban design cannot yet be calculated in a simple manner. The urban design quality of a development project, a public space, and a place contains multiple combinations of dozens of inter-connected design attributes. Furthermore, each unique geographic place and their specific characteristics add another layer of complexity to quantitative measurement. However, planning and economic development researchers continue to chip away at developing metrics of a place’s urban design environment because it is an important component in a project, a public space or a place’s success in terms of public perception of vibrancy, attractiveness, and safety. Regardless of whether the average person can articulate the presence or absence of certain design elements, all people can point to places they like and are attracted to and those places that they instinctively avoid. Investing, developing, and maintaining places that people are attracted to is an important topic for policy makers and public development officials to understand as this is a factor in maintaining and growing the tax base in terms of housing and jobs as well as providing a justification of public investment in the public realm. This research project used 2010, 2014, and 2015 data from the U.S. Census and 2010 NAVSTREETS pedestrian-oriented street segment data via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Smart Location Index to test whether there is a correlation between the presence of pedestrian-oriented street segments and growth in employment and housing units in all downtown census tracts for the 383 Municipal Statistical Areas (MSA’s) in the United States over time. The use of the MSA dataset will provide a large, 5 consistent data baseline from which future measurement can then be consistently conducted for pedestrian-oriented street segments and impact on employment and housing growth.








School of Business Student Theses and Dissertations