Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Charlie Curry-Smithson


It is a common sight to see community centers in use in various parts of the world. They have fulfilled a variety of roles in many communities for a number of years. This project’s focus is on the design of community center for a rural town. The main research question in this research asks, “What type of community center does this area need?” The sub questions also help to establish the kind of community center that is needed and wanted.

A review of current literature shows no specific way to build a community center or what to include. However there were useful insights gained through the research of others on helpful methods when coming up with a community center plan. This is known as a responsive design approach. It takes into account both the social environment and physical environment and their combined effect on the users. This approach was used in the research design and methodology.

Three tools of inquiry established the data for this research project, including surveys, interviews, and a chart created of current available meeting spaces. Four main themes emerged from the data and helped to answer both the primary question and sub questions. The themes include: existing groups’ demographics, a review of current meeting places, needs and wants for current and future buildings, and the local level of support. Each of these subject areas provides a complete framework in which to base the type of community center that is both needed and wanted for this rural area.

This research study shows that it is possible at the beginning stage to find out and create the type of community center that would best fit the needs of the community it is intended for. It also shows the need for more studies to be done in the area of responsive design and its impact.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Research | Other Architecture


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