Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Lynne Heasley

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Hoffmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Jordan Yin


Human settlement and the natural environment are ultimately connected. Urbanization, the concentration of human population within a highly settled area, significantly affects this transformation. The relationship between population growth and urbanization is especially acute in the US. Recent studies indicate that between 1982 and 1997, population growth increased 17% while urbanized land increased 47% (Fulton, et al, 1). Rapidly increasing urbanization because of population growth leads to physical development and transformation of natural landscapes. This accelerated loss of open space threatens the very survival of cities. Isolation and fragmentation because of urbanization has caused wetlands to vanish, species diversity to decrease, the prospect of flooding to increase, water quality to diminish, and pollution to increase (Benedict and McMahon, 11-12). In response to this impeding crisis, communities seek ways to reverse these trends.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only