Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science and Policy

First Advisor

Brad Lewis




land use pattern, Capital District, sustainability, environment


Urban centers in America have commonly been plagued by high rates of pollution, decaying infrastructure, and the overall image of being undesirable places to live. Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, masses of people vacated the cities that they called home, for literally greener pastures, settling in outlying, low-density living areas that became known as the suburbs. Suburbanization has particularly impacted the land use pattern in the Capital District of New York State, as countless suburbs developed away from the region’s urban centers of Albany, Schenectady and Troy. Recently people have moved back into the Capital District’s urban areas to work and live, however, the adverse suburban impact of sprawl remains firmly intact. To mitigate the impacts of sprawl, sustainable regional policy-making must be promoted. While every policymaker envisions the concepts of sustainability and smart growth differently, this study examines specific public policies that have both fostered sprawl and the policies that are geared towards reigning in the problem that has long saddled the Capital District. Policies promoting sustainability have already been implemented in areas like Portland, Oregon. Ultimately, a regional urban sustainability outline will be developed for the Capital District. In crafting the plan, numerous variables will be taken into account: political, cultural, economic, and social. It is imperative that cities and the communities that surround them are structured in a way that nourishes environmentally responsible behavior and overall quality of life.