Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

David Gladstone, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jeffery Ehrenreich, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

William Sullivan, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

John Renne, Ph.D.


Landscape development[1] can provide many benefits, including the reduction of stormwater runoff and the creation of habitats for wildlife. It can also provide health benefits. Researchers, such as Roger Ulrich and Rita Berto have demonstrated that views of trees and other vegetation are associated with lower blood pressure and reduced recovery times in hospitals and that environments with more natural elements may lessen mental fatigue (R. Ulrich 1984) and (Berto 2005).

As rebuilding in New Orleans continues 11 years after Hurricane Katrina, landscape development has been limited or lacking, especially in the redevelopment of commercial properties. Two prominent reasons for this deficiency are a lack of funding and, until August of 2015, the absence of a comprehensive landscape ordinance.

The purpose of the research presented here is to determine the degree to which community residents express a preference for healthier commercial environments. As part of my research, I measured community perceptions of four potential redevelopment concepts for a blighted strip shopping center utilizing attention restoration theory (ART), which postulates that certain environmental qualities contribute to reductions in mental fatigue. I found that commercial environments with the most quality landscaping[2] are those that neighborhood residents most prefer and are most conducive to better health.

Keywords: mental fatigue, attention restoration theory, perceived restoration scale, commercial landscape quantity, public health, healthy urban environment

[1] Refer to operational definitions (pages 4-6).

[2] Refer to operational definitions (pages 4-6).


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