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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2013
Thesis number: 13220
Community-forward campuses: fostering the sense of community at universities through placemaking
Author: Sahramaa, Tuomas
Title: Community-forward campuses: fostering the sense of community at universities through placemaking
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; yhteisöt; communities; verkostot; networks; yliopistot; universities; toimitilat; premises; suunnittelu; planning; kehitys; development; opiskelu; studying
Pages: 142
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_13220.pdf pdf  size:10 MB (9788934)
Key terms: community; sense of community; built environment; placemaking; place; space
Which elements of the built environment contribute to the development of a sense of community? And how do these elements apply to the context of university campuses especially, such that stronger feelings of togetherness are cultivated amongst students?

All campuses are not created equal in their ability to connect users together and to inspire meaningful interactions amongst them. Certain characteristics of the physical structure of campus spaces - the built environment - deliver better results than others in terms of deepening the feelings of connectedness amongst users. In other words, some campuses are more "community-forward" than others. This thesis contributes to the understanding of how built structures contribute to the development of communities and a sense of togetherness in the context of university campuses, particularly through the practice of placemaking.

The study has developed a framework for "community-forward" campuses. This framework aims to recognize spaces or elements of the built environment specific to university campuses that most effectively engender a sense of community. This happens through delivering spaces that enable communication (the dispensing of information, narratives, brand values or mission statements), integration (the creation of interactions, cross-pollination, facilitation of introductions or mixing of members) and duration (the enabling of long-term stays, embedding or deep connectedness).

The main purpose of this study was to support the work of the Built Environment Services (BES) research group of Aalto University by identifying the components of community-forward campuses, using Aalto University as a case study. This study was conducted on the campus of Aalto University by applying qualitative methodology. Particularly, in-person interviews were used to gain key insights into the lives of Aalto students, and to build a framework around their needs.

Based on these insights, the created framework of spatial design principles aim to affect built spaces to better create and cultivate community bonds amongst the users of those spaces. Three main principles of community-forward campuses, which consist of three sub-principles each, were developed through the study of enrolled students on the current campus configuration of Aalto University, consisting of three formerly separate universities. Implementing this framework would help guide designers and users to co-create a more united and cohesive university campus for future classes of Aalto students.
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