Do we prefer New Urbanist design to conventional suburban design? Towards a new method of measuring the Quality of Place
In this thesis I test the claim that New Urban design leads to a higher Quality of Life than conventional (American) suburban design. Considering the continuous growth of suburban living in the United States, and in light of the many other claims of improvement, the possibility that New Urban design leads to a higher Quality of Life than conventional suburban design is an interesting and important one. I furthermore note the need for a subjective, non-ambiguous and nonarbitrarily defined measure for the relation between place and Quality of Life. A ‘Quality of Place’ measure is developed that uses interviews to determine which elements of neighborhood design are relevant, and quantitative analyses to judge and compare the importance of, and satisfaction with these elements, for both a conventional suburban (Orchard) and a New Urban (Kentlands) neighborhood. New Urban design seems to fulfill its promise of improving the Quality of Life, as Kentlands has a significantly higher Quality of Place than Orchard. These results further emphasize the need to review today’s planning practices. However, the results are impaired by a low response-rate. The measure of Quality of Place nevertheless proves its merit and it is recommended to use this measure in future research on the relationship between place and Quality of Life.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen