Urban planning, regional planning, new urban, new urbanism, new urbanist, neotraditional, new urban planning, social outcomes, transportation outcomes, built environment, celebration, conventional suburban, central florida


Previous research has demonstrated a relationship between the built environment and social and transportation outcomes when comparing traditional and conventional suburban neighborhoods, but much remains to be learned about whether New Urbanism can produce similar results. Among studies where new urban neighborhoods have been assessed, most have centered on regions with highly-utilized public transit systems and with climates that are amenable to utilitarian physical activity. This research sought to build on the existing research base through direct comparison of new urban and conventional suburban neighborhoods in central Florida, a region with an under-developed transit system and a climate that renders utilitarian physical activity impractical. Further, this research sought to lend greater insights into neighborhood selection factors across neighborhood types. A mixed-methods, single-case design was utilized to evaluate one new urban and one conventional suburban neighborhood in the central Florida region. Regional new urban neighborhoods were subjectively rated for adherence to tenets of the Charter of the New Urbanism, with the neighborhood (Celebration, in Osceola County, FL) found to most closely adhere to these tenets selected as the experimental group for the study. A socio-demographically comparable conventional suburban neighborhood (Sweetwater, in Seminole County, FL) was selected as the control group. Quantitative methods consisted of a household survey issued to 250 randomly- and convenience-sampled addresses in each neighborhood, followed by regression analysis to evaluate study hypotheses. Qualitative methods employed analysis of open-ended survey responses, detailed case studies of selected neighborhoods, and resident interviews. The household survey yielded net response rates of 15.79 percent and 25.50 percent iv for experimental and control neighborhoods, respectively, and a mean cross-neighborhood response rate of 20.64 percent. Twenty resident interviews (10 per neighborhood) were conducted. Quantitative and qualitative findings were compared to collectively address research questions. Regression results indicated no statistically significant difference between neighborhoods in attitudinal and behavioral components of community participation, in vehicle miles driven per week, or utilitarian physical activity frequency. However, results indicated that new urban residents had more positive attitudes toward utilitarian physical activity than conventional suburban residents and that attitudes toward community participation and utilitarian physical activity were positively correlated with associated behaviors. Qualitative findings provided substantial individual- and environmental-level insights to factors impacting evaluated attitudes and behaviors, and supported some quantitative findings while not aligning with others. Neighborhood selection factors were found to be quite different across neighborhoods: Celebration residents identified neighborhood social atmosphere and connection to the Walt Disney Company brand as top contributors to their selection decision, while Sweetwater residents expressed that access to quality schools was the most important factor in their selection decision. Qualitative findings indicated that car culture and climate within the central Florida region diminished both attitudinal and behavioral components of utilitarian physical activity across neighborhood types. This research expanded the understanding of the social and transportation outcomes of New Urbanism, particularly with respect to the central Florida region. While case and quantitative limitations may have impeded the ability of this study to draw decisive conclusions v about research questions, distinctive themes regarding social and transportation outcomes were identified. Findings of this research supported those of some prior studies while contradicting others, indicating that further exploration is needed to establish a firm understanding of the capabilities of new urban development to achieve desired outcomes, and of regional characteristics that may influence these outcomes.


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Graduation Date





Korosec, Ronnie


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Public Affairs








Release Date

August 2012

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs, Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic