Date of Submission

Spring 5-7-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Pegah Zamani


Mental health is a growing challenge in today’s world despite being a critical component of well-being. One in five adults in the U.S. experience some form of mental health issues. Among that population, Native Americans suffer disproportionately with higher rates of depression, suicide, drug overdose, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). These disparities faced by the Indigenous population stem from several factors—historical trauma, social and economic inequalities, and cultural disconnect. Despite modern treatments for mental health, many individuals—both indigenous and non-indigenous—continue to struggle.

Nature and the environment are a core part of Native American culture, bringing together communities. While exposure to nature has been shown to increase well-being, modern society has become more disconnected from the natural environment.

This thesis explores a holistic framework integrating Native American culture, mental health, and the natural environment. Through analyzing traditional Indigenous structures and the therapeutic effects of nature, the framework aims to foster a sense of community and promote a deeper connection with the environment. The proposed design is set in Dahlonega, Georgia, a city surrounded by nature at the foothills of the North Georgia mountains, where over 500 members of the Georgia Tribe of Eastern Cherokee reside.

In such a framework, the design incorporates various therapeutic spaces for people, including cultural spaces, nature-oriented areas, community-focused spaces, and dedicated healthcare facilities. Intertwining these elements aims to create an environment that addresses mental health disparities while honoring Native American culture and promoting community engagement.

Included in

Architecture Commons