Presidential Scholars Theses (1990 – 2006)


Open Access Presidential Scholars Thesis

First Advisor

Hans Isakson, Advisor


Real estate development; Disney Development Co.; Mall of America Company (Bloomington, Minn.); Cedar Valley Lakes (Iowa);


Real estate development has a profound impact on many aspects of our lives. It obviously determines the type of environment in which we live and work, but it has less obvious impacts as well. Whether a site is developed as a factory, townhouse, or amusement park will drastically change the appropriate uses of adjacent land, and hence affects the local economy. Developers must work as partners with government, business, and individuals alike to achieve optimal land use and maximize economic gain for the community.

Volumes may be written about development's economic influences. My thesis focuses, however, on development's influences on tourism and the corresponding influence on local economies. Cases are examined which look at national, regional, and local developments, as well as cases at differing points in the development process. The three main cases are the work of the Disney Development Company, the Mall of America, and the Cedar Valley Lakes project, with an emphasis on Disney.

Disney Development Company is one of the most unique developers in the world. The company is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, and is used exclusively to build and manage Disney attractions. It actively recruits the world's best architects, engineers, and professional staff, making it a leader in innovation as well as quality.

My thesis also examines a completed project with a more regional tourism appeal, the Mall of America. The mall was designed to cater to not only the 2.5 million residents of the Twin Cities, but also to the 27 million people within 400 miles of the mall and the 20 million travelers who annually use the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The mall created nearly 10,000 jobs and will raise an estimated $40 million in state taxes each year. ("Mall of America Fun Fact Sheet")

Finally, my thesis examines the Cedar Valley Lakes project, a Waterloo, Iowa development which is partially completed. One of the largest lakes is being created as the Cedar Falls (Iowa) Expressway is built, using sand and gravel from the bottom of the lake to form the base of the expressway. Eventually a chain of lakes will be developed, with recreational areas to cater to residents of Black Hawk and surrounding counties.

Date of Award



Department of Finance

Presidential Scholar Designation

A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation Presidential Scholar


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (32 pages)

Date Digital



©1993 Daniel Dickman





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