Carnegie Mellon University

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Reconnecting to Place Fostering Community Well-Being

posted on 2022-07-08, 20:22 authored by Hannah Kim

The time spent in university or college is considered to be an important moment in students’ lives. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing protocols and mask mandates have shifted spatial configurations on campuses, and in turn, have changed the ways students come together in place. The repercussions of how these rapid changes and adoptions may facilitate and foster students’ relationships in place have yet to be considered. While places shape how students interact with one another, they are also the participants that shape the place. In this thesis, I investigate the role of undergraduate students’ relationships in the shaping of places at Carnegie Mellon. To ground the research, I investigated theories of place and belonging, and case studies for how to put these into practice. In the exploratory research, I identified attributes that students at Carnegie Mellon associated with a positive sense of place as well as their values, challenges, and motivations as students on campus. In the generative phase, I developed a set of attributes of belonging that served as guiding principles for creating the design intervention, We are here. This project aims to facilitate reflexive practices among students. Ultimately, this thesis surfaces the importance of bringing awareness and seeking ways to be more intentional about how we come together and approach one another in place.




Degree Type

  • Master's Thesis


  • Design

Degree Name

  • Master of Design (MDes)


Kristin Hughes Peter Scupelli

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