Shaping Community: How Intentional Design in Residential Halls Can Influence Community




Barr, Jackson

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For many young adults the first year of college marks the first chance to live independently and meet new people with whom they will form a community. A residence hall, formerly known as a dormitory or dorm, is on campus housing designed for this purpose. The experiences they foster, or preclude, are critical to the relationships they build and has the potential to shape long-term expectations and patterns of socialization. The thesis of this research is that the intentional design of residential halls can promote positive socialization and allow residents to build mature relationships with their peers. Review of research on this topic reveals that the spatial configurations of residence halls can impact the type and quality of students’ social relationships. Amenities, like study rooms and shared living spaces, allow students to become involved within their hall’s community, while suite-style rooms and computer rooms, can inhibit community building. Consideration of the role, goals and forms of residential halls requires universities and architects to move beyond efficient housing, to consider the how these incubators of society can contribute to broader goals of liberally educated, capable, and well-adjusted young adults.



space, university, residence halls, community


Barr, J. (2023). Shaping community: How intentional design in residential halls can influence community. Honors College, Texas State University.


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