The Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1 - 38

Benjamin R. Meagher

. . . there is a common tendency
to err on the side of caution and
design housing with what Sommer
called hard architecture: spaces
that prioritize standardization,
indestructibility, and clearly
prescribed usage. Similar tendencies
can be observed in the design of
many hospitals and prisons, along
with their associated psychological
costs.

individual differences in exactly how students
create a place they identify with is also worth
exploring. For example, Hansen and Altman
(1976) suggested that the type of marking students engaged in may have differential effects
on attrition. It is therefore quite possible that,
in the same way, certain types of spatial adaptations are more likely to produce flourishing
than are others.
Finally, it is important to recognize that the
current study was conducted at a single college
with a largely unrepresentative student body,
thereby limiting its ability to generalize to other
more diverse university contexts. Most notably,
this sample was predominantly White, and
issues related to belongingness, attachment,
and sense of place are even more relevant for
minority students (Kirby et al., 2020). It is
possible, for example, that students may have
an even stronger emotional and psychologi38

cal connection to their own space when they
feel that the broader campus has a climate that
lacks inclusivity. Thus, it would be valuable to
know whether students' attitudes toward their
residences has a distinct effect on flourishing
among underrepresented groups.

IMPLICATIONS
Millions of dollars are spent by colleges and
universities developing and maintaining buildings and common spaces on their campuses,
representing a large percentage of institution
expenditure (Godshall, 2000). Establishing
best practices for how places on campus should
be designed is therefore of critical importance
for college and university administrators.
The findings from this study suggest several
strategies for practitioners seeking to create
a residence hall most likely to facilitate place
identity.
First, for new buildings that are being constructed, it is important to advocate for architectural design that provides students with a
sense of control over their own space and the
capacity to alter it as much as possible. This
approach requires eschewing many traditional
design models. Because student housing is
inherently temporary, and because negative
stereotypes exist about the responsibility and
safety of students, there is a common tendency to err on the side of caution and design
housing with what Sommer (1974) called hard
architecture: spaces that prioritize standardization, indestructibility, and clearly prescribed
usage. Similar tendencies can be observed
in the design of many hospitals and prisons,
along with their associated psychological costs
(Wener, 2012). Spaces with soft architecture, on
the other hand, reflect the presence of unique

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 1

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