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Building Community Tool

The four strategies of community formation include, cultivating respectful relationships, sense of common purposes, opportunities for cooperation, and opportunities for influence and autonomy. This tool is designed to identify different levels of interventions for each of these categories to fit different timelines and budgets, including major intervention: new and significantly renovated space; minor intervention: refresh with a focus on finishes and FF&E; and re-utilization: operational/function change in existing space.

Tool Tips

Hover over strategies for further definition and click for interventions

Improve the ease of navigation and wayfinding in the built environment

Cultivating Respectful Relationships

Improve the ease of navigation and wayfinding in the built environment

Protect student's privacy, and reduce the feeling of being monitored or surveilled.

Provide variable sensory levels to students and teachers

Comfort in terms of air quality, temperature, sound, vision, and ergonomics

Easy and sufficient access to sanitary facilities

Enhance student's and teachers' safety

Sense of Common


Food, drink - things to make people feel energized and soothed.

Provide diversity of imagery for students

Celebration of alumni or students' achievements, legacy, and build up role models for the cohort

Let students or teachers express their needs and participate in school design. 

Shared, collaborative narrative to enhance students' cohesion

Promote sustainability within school built environment.

Hazards - Create

Feelings of Exclusion

Poor or no accessibility to the building of rooms; Lack of availability of resources

Lack of cultural, historical, or racial sensitivity

Building, furniture, or rooms lack of human scale

Lack of information and lack of transparency -  both policy and space

Having too many rules, or being very inflexible

Lack of sensory comfort - visual, auditory, olfactory, proprioception, thermal, tactile


for Collaboration

Provide access to tools, equipment, and resources

Provide acoustical comfort.

Provide variable collaboration spaces for students

Provide maker space and allow students to mess it up

Provide support or facilitation to the students as needed from faculty and admin group

Bring in the ideas of the community garden, farm, or plants to enhance cooperation

Opportunities for

Influence & Autonomy

Provide students reasonable access to tools, equipment, and other resources

Allow students or teachers to adjust the environment around them

Provide clear indications or cues for different types of spaces in the building 

Provide some quiet area for the students 

Enhance the campus or building's security

Provide variable presentation spaces to foster the sense of influence and autonomy

Institutional: stratified, fossilized, sterilized

What The Community is Saying


Jennifer Andaluz, Former director of Downtown College Prep

"Learning spaces cannot and will not be pristine, we need colors and images to inspire the students. And we don’t want dark and cold spaces. Furniture in classrooms needs to be light, flexible, movable, and easy to modify.  It will allow teachers to control and manage their space."

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