Title (All Applicants)

Sense of Community and Space

Project Advisor(s) (Students Only)

Dr. Daniel Corts

Presentation Type (All Applicants)

Poster Presentation

Disciplines (All Applicants)

Life Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology | Psychology | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

Sense of community (SOC) is defined as a person’s experience of a group or specific area (Kenkmann et al, 1996). Physical spaces can affect SOC; small colleges have higher SOC on average than universities (Lounsbury & DeNeui, 1996). A person’s identity, especially ethnic identity, can also influence SOC (Rivas-Drake, 2012; Liu, 2005). However, there is less work on the intersection of physical space and ethnic identity (Devlin et al, 2008). This raises the questions: how does the experience of a community space affect someone’s SOC, and would it vary by ethnicity?

The relationship between communal spaces and identity can be could explored by asking different individuals how they perceive a space. In one such study, students from different cultural backgrounds had different expectations and evaluations of psychotherapists offices based on design (Devlin et al, 2013). Further, it is likely that there are places some individuals from different groups are going to feel more comfortable. I hypothesize that having comfortable community spaces is positively correlated with SOC. This will be more prominent amongst minority groups which may not always be represented in communal spaces.

The results of the data show that students of color have a lower sense of community than their white peers. Additional exploratory analysis did not produce significance.

Being able to access how a person can perceive a space can give useful insight into how certain community spaces are constructed and affected by someone’s identity. The challenge lies in continuing to push for more inclusive spaces and in order to do so, the current spaces must be examined to determine which spaces are prioritized or neglected.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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Sense of Community and Space

Sense of community (SOC) is defined as a person’s experience of a group or specific area (Kenkmann et al, 1996). Physical spaces can affect SOC; small colleges have higher SOC on average than universities (Lounsbury & DeNeui, 1996). A person’s identity, especially ethnic identity, can also influence SOC (Rivas-Drake, 2012; Liu, 2005). However, there is less work on the intersection of physical space and ethnic identity (Devlin et al, 2008). This raises the questions: how does the experience of a community space affect someone’s SOC, and would it vary by ethnicity?

The relationship between communal spaces and identity can be could explored by asking different individuals how they perceive a space. In one such study, students from different cultural backgrounds had different expectations and evaluations of psychotherapists offices based on design (Devlin et al, 2013). Further, it is likely that there are places some individuals from different groups are going to feel more comfortable. I hypothesize that having comfortable community spaces is positively correlated with SOC. This will be more prominent amongst minority groups which may not always be represented in communal spaces.

The results of the data show that students of color have a lower sense of community than their white peers. Additional exploratory analysis did not produce significance.

Being able to access how a person can perceive a space can give useful insight into how certain community spaces are constructed and affected by someone’s identity. The challenge lies in continuing to push for more inclusive spaces and in order to do so, the current spaces must be examined to determine which spaces are prioritized or neglected.