Student experience and the design of campus outdoor spaces : an optimized assessment and comparative cross-case analysis at Universities from two leading nations – England, UK & California, US

Gabr, M 2021, Student experience and the design of campus outdoor spaces : an optimized assessment and comparative cross-case analysis at Universities from two leading nations – England, UK & California, US , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Universities are recently pressured to attracting more students and achieving higher rankings. Students’ experience is found to be one of the keyways universities are differentiating themselves. Universities aim to offer diverse landscape settings to enhance the students’ experience, from formal-studying to informal-break; from individual-private to social-multipurpose; from active-energetic to relaxing-quiet. In that respect, the spatial configurations of uni¬versity campuses play a critical role in the future of their urban plan and evolving visions. Yet, research studies as well as recent investments and developments are generally more technology-directed buildings and neglecting to a degree the planning for advanced levels of social and physical outdoor activities. The aim of this study is therefore to support appraisal framework for experience-led design by forecasting and prioritizing key elements of campus physical design that stimulates the greatest experience to its users and redeems budgets. As such, the study makes a case for data-driven quantification to aid in fostering development change and facilitating tomorrow’s innovative experiences for the desired interaction of student-staff-community, whilst realizing today’s market realities to target more effective university investments. To successfully plan for and measure such change, the literature examines three multi-disciplinary levels from educational/social, urban, and investment perspectives in order to develop a unique integrative framework. Subsequently, a comparative analysis of two case studies in different contexts is presented to illustrate the value of the framework and the relevance of the context: UOS (University of Salford) in England, UK; and the SDSU (San Diego State University) in California, US. Nearly 78,000 students were observed, during 996 hours of observation, at 14 campuses from California and 5 campuses from England – with a total number of 56 on-campus outdoor spaces. The data is collected using both qualitative (descriptive & photographic) and quantitate (manual counts) observation methods for filling the variables of design and experience outcomes. Observation data sheets about the university characteristics, urban qualities of the campus, design features of the COS, the typologies, frequencies and durations of each COS use (design index of COS). A descriptive analysis was performed to determine the campus’s quality (profiles of the campus). Both the mathematical ratings and correlation analysis were intensely testing the relationship between the variables of typologies of design, use and cost. Interviews are then used to validate this three-level approach with experts including academics, campus planners and university estates. This methodology helps to illustrate potential interactions and conflicts among the different actors who are crucial for the development of experience-based campus areas. At the end of this study, the key outcomes of implementing the integrative framework are provided with the resulting nexus to support judgment-based decisions among a variety of feasible design options in indicating the best institutional fit of student/user to space/design and university/investment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Elkadi, HA (Supervisor) and Kenawy, IM (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments
Funders: Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport
Depositing User: Dr Mohammed Gabr
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2022 11:55
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2022 02:30

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