Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



First Advisor

Anz, Craig


Abstract Proposal This thesis research proposition is to design a LEED platinum urban mixed-use special needs housing community. The analysis and subsequent design of this facility will take into account the many specific social and physical needs of the residents. The proposed outcome of this research is to suppose through intimate knowledge and understanding of the special needs community and the use of thoughtful design while paying special attention to subtle spatial relationships, it can be proven that architectural design can foster a positive environment for special needs residents and the community at large.The special needs community has largely been a marginalized shadow populace within the greater suburban context. In the United States, special needs children often grow up receiving some life skills training from their elementary though high school educations however, they tend to live at length with their aging parents long into adulthood. As these young adults mature, it frequently becomes increasingly difficult for parents to secure safe and affordable permanent housing solutions. Although there are a number of special needs communities nation-wide offering long term housing solutions, there is a much greater demand than that which is available. Coupled with financial growth potential limitations and bureaucratic red tape, many of these young adults struggle to find affordable group housing alternatives, especially those that can accommodate a myriad of physical, mental and emotional requirements unique to each individual. In low-income communities, the problem is only exacerbated. The goal of this thesis is to propose a mixed-use high density urban commercial housing complex which allocates self-operated retail spaces offering entrepreneurial opportunities for the residents. This proposition will foster independence and promote health with the ultimate goal of alleviating some of the usual stresses experienced by community caretakers. Thoughtful integration of green technologies will reduce the long-term running costs, thus mitigating the overall fiscal encumbrance. LEED certification will be paramount as it delivers guidance in sustainable design practices while simultaneously creating awareness to this critical need.




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