Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Interior Design

First Advisor

Roberto Ventura

Second Advisor

Emily Smith

Third Advisor

Camden Whitehead


While the knowledge of disrepair in inner-city schools is fairly common, the impact that school facilities are having on students and faculty is not as widely known. More recently, the closing of inner city schools has greatly increased across the United States; Reduction in public school enrollment from 2006-2013: Detroit -63%, Cleveland -32%, Indianapolis -27%, D.C. -23%, L.A. -23%,etc. (Journey For Justice Alliance,2014).

Due to budget cuts, threat of school closings from poor facility conditions, large class size, and pressure to raise test scores, inner city schools struggle to keep teachers (Journey For Justice Alliance,2014). Poor teacher retention along with a lack in care for educational facilities has created a toxic environment for inner-city students.

Although there are many reasons that inner-city schools suffer, negativity within school culture seems to be a common denominator within many of these problems. With larger population percentages of minority, economically disadvantaged and disabled students, difficulties arise in communicating student-to-student and teacher-to-student (Bellwether Education Partner, 2016). The question becomes, how does one design a space to provide comfort, safety and communication in order to foster healthy relationships?

This research will inform the design of a middle school that focuses on community and communication. The goal will be to design a school where flexibility and team work is made easier through furniture and layout solutions in order to foster growth and respect for students and teachers.


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