Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Design

First Advisor

Michael Tavel

Second Advisor

Georgia Lindsay

Third Advisor

Jerry Jacka


The New Urbanist movement embraces neotraditional design principles in an attempt to create a more sustainable urban form; however, some New Urbanist developments, and to some extent their principles, are not progressive enough to make legitimate claims of increasing environmental and social sustainability. In Denver, Colorado New Urbanist neighborhoods are inconsistent with New Urbanist principles; the Stapleton neighborhood, Highland Garden Village, and Riverfront Park are three New Urbanist neighborhoods used in my precedent analysis in order to illustrate these inconsistencies. Riverfront Park accomplishes many of New Urbanisms principles and goals while the Stapleton neighborhood, the largest greyfield development in the country, lacks many New Urbanist principles in its implementation; primarily related to land use patterns, residential density, and transportation. My research concludes that discrepancies between municipalities and private developers, as well as national transportation standards and policies, have resulted in a compromise that limits the implementation of New Urbanist principles in New Urbanist developments. Historical frameworks, lagging policy change, and our neoliberal free market have perpetuated a cycle of environmentally and socially unsustainable growth that needs to change in order for our built environment to continue growing into a more sustainable form.