Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


The suburbs have been an integral part of American history since the mid nineteenth century, a period in which cities began growing in an exponential manner. Over the last one hundred and fifty years, urban and suburban areas and what defines them have undergone an incredible metamorphosis. These changes can be identified in the political, social, and economic arenas; some examples include immigration, federal housing policies, single family houses, industrialization, racial discrimination and segregation, and the development of rural lands away from the city center.

Since the end of World War II, much has been written about the topic of urban and suburban sprawl. Most of the writers and historians that I will introduce in this historiography have criticized sprawl as an inefficient development of land. There are a few writers that I studied, however, who are convinced that sprawl's positives outweigh the negatives. Many writers of works on sprawl analyzed in this paper are not historians or history professors; I believe their credentials as economists, city planners, and geographers make them even more qualified to discuss the issue of sprawl than an average historian because they directly work in urban studies.

One of the most successful alternatives to sprawl and a popular trend in recent years is mixed-use development, on which I conducted original research in my hometown of Henrietta, NY. Mixed-use development is using a plot of land for more than one purpose. In most cases, mixed-use land contains commercial, industrial, and residential aspects. In the last section of this thesis, I will connect research to teaching by assigning students a project to better understand the town they live in. Various research methods are offered for the students to use, with interviews being the primary method taught.