Equitable, Ecological and Creative Place Making Initiative

The Department of Architecture's Place Making Strategies Initiative focuses on Ecology, Equity, Public Art and Tactical Urbanism via core courses, studios, electives, faculty project groups, lectures, and symposia.  This initiative brings together existing efforts and supports the creation of new place making strategies by faculty and students.

For general questions, please contact Dr. Hashas-Degertekin below. For specific questions on projects, please contact the lead faculty listed under each project.

ksu architecture students in a group


  • Mission

    Going along with the very promise of Community Engagement classifications of Kennesaw State University and the interdisciplinary nature of today’s practices of physical environment, the initiative aims at connecting varying expertise of its faculty and workforce of its students with local communities via collaborative design and implementation projects. The projects will be at varying scales and address sustainable, equitable and artful place making via collaboration with local communities, governmental and non-profit organizations, architecture, and urban design companies. The initiative will also aim at making use of other university programs and expertise.


    Within the context of current practice of (re)developing urban environments, KSU Architecture Department’s EEC Place Making Initiative will serve an essential function for a holistic and comprehensive urban design approach that overlays place making with design, social, environmental and economic sustainability, equity and affordability, public art and community engagement.

    The initiative will aim to reinforce the role of KSU’s Department of Architecture as a think tank and community design hub in the Metro Atlanta.


    An integrated and networked model is proposed for the initiative. A number of faculty have already been serving on boards and committees based on their expertise. Studios or courses will work with the local communities, organizations or governments to increase their real-life training and initiative’s collaboration network.Due to university classifications, departmental focus on undergraduate education and many faculty with PhDs and Master degrees, the initiative will aim at applied research as well as design proposals and small-scale design built projects.

    While collaborative work is done via course/studio work, meetings and networking events will be planned for collaboration with various local non-profit and for-profit organizations and entities. These will be mainly open to faculty, students and to public.

Architecture Projects

Urban & Community Design

West End Project 
  • Faculty: Dr. Hashas- Degertekin
  • Project period: October 2017 - May 2018
  • Integrated Studios: Dr. Hashas’s Urban Studio Spring 2017, Thesis Studio
  • Engaged Organizations: Transformation Alliance’s (TFA), GA Stand Up, Soccer on the Street, Moving in the Spirit
  • Award: Architecture Foundation of Georgia Innovation Grant Program's "Outstanding Community Engagement Award"
  • Associated Internship: Thesis Student Roderick Williams with Ga Stand Up
  • One of the Urban Design Studios at one of the Architecture Schools in Georgia aims at not only exploring the physical and social characteristics of the neighborhoods to be redeveloped, but also identify the experiential qualities to guide and shape the blocks, buildings, public spaces and procession scenarios of the very neighborhood. Even the environments that would be considered to be most void of any meaning, character or history reveals wondrous qualities with a careful look at what is just under the surface. Consequently, a character and sense of place is created specific to the very context based on the existing physical, social and experiential qualities. This way, important elements and qualities of the physical environment is preserved and a continuity in the memory and history of place is achieved. Such an approach is expected to provide a continuity in the sense of community for existing users, which is also attractive for the new users.

    This year, with an agreement with Ga Stand Up, a more robust and systemized data collection from the community will be achieved via walk-through appointments with the members of the local community. During these walk-through, the community members will be asked to talk about the most important places to them individually and to their community. This internal view of the place character information will be analyzed and then overlaid with the students’ external view of the place character. Making the results of this multi phased data collection and analysis process as the inspiration of their conceptual design, the students later are asked to overlay and integrate strategies for sustainability, art, community interaction, programmatic solutions and equity in their projects. In many cases, some of these strategies already have been a part of their main conclusions as a result of their data collection and analysis processes.

    The students will be asked to design over all master plan, block and street network, with a focus on specific public spaces and blocks as well as interactive public art that would educate the residents, visitors and children on community and place history and character.



Oakland City Project
  • Faculty: Dr. Hashas- Degertekin 
  • Project period: January 2017 - May 2017
  • Engaged Organizations: Transformation Alliance’s (TFA), Creative Place Making Committee (CPMC), Southface, Safe Routes to Schools Atlanta, GA Stand Up
    • Southface and Safe Routes to School (SRS) met with the students and provided information on various issues. SRS provided feedback in one of the design reviews. Work was presented to Ga Stand Up and TFA’s CPMC, which had representatives from various organizations such as Safe Routes to Schools, Atlanta Regional Commission, Wonder Root, Atlanta Cultural Affairs, MARTA Art Program, etc.
  • The Studio worked in Oakland City to identify various local physical and social characteristics to use in design process and address gentrification. Master Plan for the site contained couple of blocks including street network, land use and walkable block sizes was created along with design proposals for various streets, public spaces, infrastructure series and interactive public art.

Lectures, Panels & Symposia

  • First Creative Place Making Symposium explored the role of art and design in community development through multidisciplinary groups. The second Symposium will be held virtually and explore ways of equity and inclusion in urban environments through international and local examples.

  • Kennesaw State University's Department of Architecture has initiated a one-day Creative Place Making Symposium in partnership with AIA Georgia, Art Papers, Architecture & Design Center, Atlanta Regional Commission, Generator and MA! The symposium will explore how integrating design and art into urban development projects from the beginning can be the catalyst for innovation. Speakers will discuss their involvement in collaborative projects by multi-disciplinary teams of various governmental entities, community members, planners, artists, and designers, among others. The event is designed for academics and students of relevant fields, elected officials, policy makers, artists, arts professionals, architects and planners. #ATLplacemaking #placemaking #creativeplacemaking

  • Growth in urban cores in the US result in a rising number of urban infill and redevelopment projects that are changing the faces of many cities. While our cities become more and more populated, are we replacing suburban living models with a more public and pedestrian oriented design that enriches urban experience? How can we make use of culture and history sufficiently to create local identities while welcoming innovation? What strategies can we use to avoid cultural homogenization and support equity in our neighborhoods? How can art and design become a catalyst for place memory, local culture and equity and preserve existing communities and their culture?


    Mallcom Davis, Architect, Perkins+Will, Charlotte NC
    Tim Keane, Commissioner of City Planning, City of Atlanta, Atlanta GA

    Katherine Dirga, Arts Administrator, MARTA

    Moderated by Victoria Camblin, Editor + Artistic Director, Art Papers, Atlanta GA

    Organized by AIA Georgia, Architecture Design Center, EEC Place Making Initiative of Architecture Department of Kennesaw State University, Art Papers, Atlanta Regional Commission, Generator, and MA!

    Sponsored by KSU Architecture Department and Marmoluna Tile & Stone Inc

    Eventbrite Page
  • Panelists: Tim Keane (Dept. of Planning, City of Atlanta), Jim Durrett (Buckhead CID), John Sketch (Perkins + Will) and Nathan Koskovic (Architecture and Design Center)

    Recent tendency towards living in urban neighborhoods in the US has brought about an increasing number of urban infill and redevelopment projects, but fragmented “suburban” development processes continue to perpetuate an underlying structure that is divided and suburban in nature. While we are now working mostly with existing neighborhoods with a physical, social and historical context, it is vital that we reinvent (or rediscover) approaches and processes that reconnect the city's physical subsystems with each other, and with its nonphysical systems.

    Urban Design practice is a spatial practice, which creates a tangible accommodation for all these subsystems to work harmoniously with each other. However, it fragmentized and silently vanished in the US cities with the suburbanization of the nation and took along with it a holistic view on urban areas and its subsystems. Urban design in most of the recent redevelopment projects is based on provision of walkability, street design and mixed-use buildings within a randomly assembled experience of isolated private developments via an overused single template. Within this context, the panel explores the role and power of design in the redevelopment projects based on panelists’ various professions and experiences.

  • Panelists: Nathaniel Smith (Founder and Chief Equity Officer- Partnership for Southern Equity), William J. de St. Aubin (AIA, LEED, AP, CEO- Sizemore Group), Brandon Aultman (student), Jonne Smith (student) and Katrina Alano (student) have an open discussion.


  • Architecture Foundation of Georgia Innovation Grant Program's "Outstanding Community Engagement Award" given to Dr. Mine Hashas-Degertekin for her project named " West End Urban Design Project; Empowerment through Design"

  • Architecture Foundation of Georgia Innovation Grant Program's "Outstanding Community Engagement Award" given to Professor Zamila Karimi, Dr. Arash Soleimani, and Dr. Giovanni Loreto for their project.

Additional Information

  • Georgia Stand UP - West End Project
    Roderick Williams

    • Transformation Alliance’s (TFA)
    • GA Stand Up
    • Soccer on the Street
    • Moving in the Spirit
    • Creative Place Making Committee (CPMC)
    • Southface, Safe Routes to Schools Atlanta