Date of Submission

Spring 5-5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Architecture




Sustainable Design

Primary Advisor

Edwin Akins


The social aspect of sustainability is often neglected when environmental and economic targets in architectural practice and education are prioritized. This thesis investigates how architecture can have a positive impact on the life of those experiencing the most inequitable position of society: the homeless. Several studies have shown a strong relation between chronically homeless adults and youth departing the foster care system, therefore this thesis focuses on exploring the housing component for a prevention program for at-risk of homeless former foster care youth. This study aims to introduce a site selection methodology and housing model approach for supportive transitional living programs. The proposal is focused on two primary outcomes: preventing youth of ever experiencing homeless and addressing the needs that are required for this group to have a successful transition to adulthood. This study was exploratory in nature, using several bibliographic references, qualitative data collection, and constant literature review during the research and design application. Through the literature review portion of this study, it can be asserted that supportive programs focusing on former foster care youth must provide two types of assistance to increase their chances of success: services and housing. The first, services, must be related to employment and creating affinity with caring adults. The second, housing, must fulfill the needs of program inhabitants through proper location and appropriateness of design. In combination with these two primary forms of assistance, the design of housing must be tailored for the former foster care youth needs providing flexibility of living settings and informal social gathering spaces. To summarize, this thesis proposes a model for design process of “needs-based housing solutions” that uses spatial adjacency and site determinant strategies to increase the effectiveness of programs serving foster care youth as they transition to adulthood.

Included in

Architecture Commons