The Planning and Design of Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Campus Environments

Journal Cover

This is a SCUP Fellow Research Project Final Report. The SCUP Fellows program is designed to strengthen higher education leaders who seek to carry out new research that contributes to SCUP’s knowledge base of integrated planning. Learn more.

Space is not neutral; we perceive physical environments differently based on our backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. Every student brings a unique perspective to campus, and therefore every campus will have individual needs.

This research project collected a body of evidence around student preferences for welcoming and inclusive physical campus environments, sourced from engagements with more than two dozen institutions and more than 200 students. The author used these findings to develop a playbook to guide institutions and design teams through key strategies and possible metrics relative to DEI to use when planning, designing, and assessing physical campus space. The playbook serves as a conversation starter—a way to get planners, designers, and institutional stakeholders to the table and move the needle toward a more supportive physical environment that embodies the strategic values of DEI.


Shannon Dowling, MArch, AIA, LEEDAP

Learning Environments Planner, Ayers Saint Gross
2020–2021 SCUP Fellow