Ecological Sustainability for Small Town Pennsylvania: How green living is for all people

Open Access
Cleveland, Tristan Adele
Area of Honors:
Landscape Architecture
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Bonj Szczygiel, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stuart Patton Echols, Honors Advisor
  • landscape architecture
  • sustainability
  • pennsylvania
  • community design
  • retrofit
Environmental sustainability is a global crisis that can be solved through local action. Across the United States, small towns are working independently in their neighborhoods to increase their level of sustainability. However, they are attempting this effort with little to no professional design assistance. This thesis seeks to expose motivated resident of towns (pop. 5,000-40,000) in Pennsylvania to simple, affordable, and practical environmental improvements that could be incorporated into the existing town infrastructure. Three possibilities are put forward: rain gardens, community gardens, and lawn-alternative front yards. The Appendix is a distributable packet that connects motivated residents to the resources they need to enact environmentally sustainable improvements to their towns. The concepts, benefits, and application of each technique are discussed and illustrated, and case study examples are provided as inspiration and guidance. Though the analysis has been tailored to the conditions of the Pennsylvania region, the ideas and case studies in the packet could be used by residents anywhere within temperate North America.