Planning for Higher Education Journal

Residential Common Spaces that Really Work

A Post-Occupancy Study
Journal Cover
From Volume 41 Number 1 | October–December 2012
By Julia Nugent
Planning Types: Campus Planning

The most successful campus housing supports the academic development of students, but also acts as a venue for personal and social growth. So what kind of common spaces can support students whose main form of engagement happens on their smart phones? The Massachusetts State College Building Authority, which designs and constructs all of the student life facilities for the system's nine campuses, hired an architect and planner to evaluate its residential buildings and characterize the public spaces that were most successful in terms of student engagement. Attributes identified in the study—proximity, variety, "ownership," and flexible furniture, to name a few—are universally applicable in the design of engaging residential common spaces.

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