What Makes Georgia State University Attractive to the Homeless


Just the other night, as my friend Carly made her way from our dorm on Edgewood Ave to her early morning class in Classroom South, she found herself stepping from what she believed to be the side walk onto the street to quickly find herself stepping on to a live human who happened to be asleep in the gutter of the street. She exclaimed to me, “I don’t know who was more horrified, me or the homeless man!” As a student at Georgia State University, I have encountered many homeless people throughout my first year. I can recall a night in which I found myself being “escorted home” from a late night studying by a young homeless man who wanted someone to vent to. While this should have been seen as a dangerous situation for a young woman like myself, there is an outstanding number of homeless men and women in and around the Georgia State University Campus, so much so that the presence of these homeless citizens have become such a normality for the students of Georgia State. Although both residing in urban environments, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University have no comparison when it comes down to the number of homeless people residing on their campuses. At GSU, It is as if the homeless are too students of the university. The question is why has this become so typical for students of Georgia State to encounter a homeless man, while the students of Georgia Tech do no face the same daily interaction?

Georgia State University is located in the heart of down town Atlanta. Due to its location being surrounded by public transportation stations, parks, and nightlife, Georgia State is a heavily populated area with people traveling in and out of its campus. Georgia State’s campus is considered to be “a campus without boundaries,” according to the Georgia State College of Law webpage. This “campus without boundaries is otherwise known as an open campus. Classrooms are spread out across the city, while offices and businesses fill the gaps between the university’s buildings. This attracts a heavy flow of business men and women as well as students navigating the streets of GSU’s campus. The abundance of people passing through this area during the day provides ample opportunity for a homeless man or woman to find a meal source for the day and other useful resources. Many times I will see a homeless person discovering a half finished burrito in the trash, or be handed leftovers from the nearby restaurant as well as loose change by anyone walking by. Although still not invisible, the hustle and bustle of this grand population often distracts from the presence of these homeless people. This allows them to live in peace with little to no conflict with the surrounding population.

Just between Aderhold Learning center and 25 park place, a classroom building and student advisement office, sits Woodruff Park. Woodruff Park is the day time home to many of downtown’s homeless regulars. Due to the numerous chess board tables and pieces located on the pavilion patio, Woodruff Park attracts many homeless people to come socialize and entertain themselves with games of chess. The location is perfect for a homeless person to spend their entire day. Just one block over is Broad Street, which is home to a large variety of restaurants and fast food, as well as convenience stores, a pawn shop, and a few small businesses. Within the park there is a public toilet located just a few yards away from the patio in which these men and women are found socializing. Massive numbers of students pass through the park each day to travel to and from Aderhold Learning center with food and money to spare.

These two men enjoy a game of chess in Woodruff Park


Georgia State University is located just a block away from the historic Under Ground Atlanta Center. Under Ground, formally a railroad station during the late 19th century on into the 20th then abandoned until the late 20th century, according to underground Atlanta’s history page, is now a struggling collection of stores and small businesses. The few times that I have been through underground Atlanta, I have been astonished by the number of open drug deals, fights, and arrests that’s I witnessed in the short period of time spent. The easy access to drugs in this location attracts a portion of the homeless population. According to Alcoholrehab.com, “It is believed that about 38% of homeless people abuse alcohol while 26% regularly use other drugs.” Keeping this statistic in mind, Underground Atlanta’s apparent black market drug hub is a huge attraction for the affected percentage of Atlanta’s homeless. Not only is Underground Atlanta a source for drugs, the shopping center is home to many struggling small businesses. Because of hardships and struggle in remaining open, many of the small businesses within Under Ground are found to have more affordable services. These affordable prices also attract homeless people to the area to receive desired services.

There are three MARTA transit stations located in and around Georgia State University’s campus, Five Points, Georgia State, and Peachtree Center stations. MARTA is well known for having copious amounts of homeless people occupying its rail cars. Anyone can pay a price of $2.00 to enter the MARTA station and travel on the air conditioned train for however long they wish. So, during times of extreme weather, the MARTA rail line becomes a comfortable shelter for these individuals. Five Points MARTA station, which connects all of the major rail lines at one station, is located just on the border of Georgia State University. This center for public transit brings not only students to Georgia State, but people from all over the greater Atlanta region. This includes high crime communities like West End, Oakland City, Kensington, and College Park. With all of the opportunities and resources down town Atlanta has to offer for the homeless through the parks, shelters, and food banks, affected men and women from all over the greater Atlanta neighborhoods are drawn to this particular stop.

Map of all the MARTA stops and rails.

Georgia Tech is located in Mid Town Atlanta, just north of Georgia State University. This Geographical difference in campus could quickly be assumed to be the difference between the two campus’s censuses of homeless; however, Georgia Tech is home to Techwood Drive. “Completed in 1936, Atlanta’s Techwood Homes was the first public housing project in the nation. But in the years before the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the community had become known for its poverty, gang violence and drug trafficking problems,” according to Kathy Lohr, on NPR’s morning edition. This community has grown over the years and has become a hub of drug trafficking, poverty, and homelessness. Still, Techwood and all, Georgia Tech’s campus appears to be homeless free. When looking at a crime map of Atlanta, It is evident that the Georgia Tech Campus’s border isolates its campus from the majority of the crime that Mid Town is home to. The built environment of Georgia Institute of Technology is the cause of this shift in crime rates.

Homless people

Crime map of Atlanta Georgia. You can see Gerogia state is covered in red while Georgia Tech is completely green.

Georgia Tech, unlike Georgia State, is a closed campus. Once you step foot onto the campus, you will find that every building is dedicated to specifically Georgia tech’s students and staff. While it is a public university and is not closed off to the public population, there is no reason, other than panhandling, for a homeless man or woman to wonder on to the Georgia Tech campus. In addition to this, Georgia Tech’s overall style and structure would provide an obvious contrast between the environment and an obviously homeless individual. Typically you find homeless men and women in locations in which they can easily blend in to their surroundings. Georgia tech’s campus is well kept, clean, and bright, unlike most urban streets. Therefore, not only would a homeless man or woman unable to find a purpose in exploring the streets and paths through Georgia Institute of Technology, but they would also have a hard time blending into the environment.


One thing that both campuses have in common is the lack of homeless people inhabiting the university owned interior spaces within their campus. In order to access the university’s major buildings, you must first sign in or swipe in. This can be observed in both Georgia State’s library and Georgia Tech’s Library. The interior built environment for these Universities are so much so catered to the needs of the students and staff only, a homeless person would find no purpose in roaming around any of these buildings.

Homeless people are found more on Georgia State’s campus than on other urban campuses like Georgia Tech due to its open campus, nearby MARTA stations, historic background, and public resources. While there are no practical solutions to remove the number of homeless people from Georgia State University specifically, by providing new places to accommodate the needs of greater Atlanta’s homeless, these men and women would be less drawn to the campus for its resources. There are currently shelters scattered around Atlanta, but if provided more long term assistance that offered things like an outdoor setting to entertain themselves, small shopping center where they can find affordable products and services, and necessary food to survive, all similar to the environment GSU has produced, Atlanta’s homeless might migrate from the campus setting into this new solution setting.


“Homeless Services – Initiative for Affordable Housing.” Accessed April 29, 2016. http://www.affordablehousingatl.org/homeless-services.html.

“Underground Atlanta.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, April 19, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Underground_Atlanta&oldid=716058114.

“ICP_Georgia_Brief.pdf.” Accessed April 29, 2016. http://icphusa.org/PDF/reports/ICP_Georgia_Brief.pdf?Submit1=Free+Download.

“Census: 6,664 Homeless People Counted in Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb | Atlanta News & Opinion Blog | Fresh Loaf | Creative Loafing Atlanta.” Accessed April 29, 2016. http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2013/08/01/report-6664-homeless-people-in-atlanta-fulton-dekalb.

Lohr, Kathy. “Writer Has A Down-Home Feel For Atlanta’s Dark Side.” NPR.org. Accessed April 29, 2016. http://www.npr.org/2012/07/30/157232682/writer-has-a-down-home-feel-for-atlantas-dark-side.

“28266c4e0ae78d652422b9f14c9e8ee7.jpg (JPEG Image, 467 × 350 Pixels).” Accessed April 29, 2016. http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/28/26/28266c4e0ae78d652422b9f14c9e8ee7.jpg?itok=vj-CqSnr.

“MARTA Station Map | MARTA Guide.” Accessed April 29, 2016. https://martaguide.com/rail-station-map/.

“Georgia State Law Admissions.” Accessed April 29, 2016. http://law.gsu.edu/admissions/.

Blog Revisions

Once completed with the initial survey, I realized that I had a few major flaws in my web site that needed to be addressed. The first thing I went through and fixed was the lack of tags in a few of my posts. While I had tags for all of my posts, there was room for more detailed tags to draw more traffic through the page. I then went through each of my posts and changed the title to be more descriptive of the piece rather than the generic titles I previously had like, “Reading Summary #1.” I changed both of these so that my submissions could be more accessible and easily found by my peers.


What I wasn’t able to revise, but I would like to address, includes multi-media. A few of my posts did indeed include a photo or two, but as a whole my blog is pretty bare. More images would provide more detail to my posts and make the over all look of my blog more attractive. Just like the need for more media my blog could use more structure and design. I wish I had taken the time to play around with the theme of the blog and font to create a different atmosphere. Currently my blog is just a collection of information, whereas if it had been designed differently it could create a completely different tone and message with each of its posts.




Annotated Bibliographies 1-9G

                           Tofle, Ruth Brent, Ph.D, Benyamin Schwarz, Ph.D, So-Yeon Yoon, MA, and Andrea Max-Royale, M.E.Des. “Color In Healthcare Environments.” Color In Healthcare Environments. Coalition for Health Environments Research (CHER), July 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <https://www.healthdesign.org/chd/research/color-healthcare-environments>.                          

The article is an abstract revealing ideas on the concept of the general use of color in healthcare facilities, and the truth of color having no scientific evidence in it’s effects on health. The authors state, “Regrettably, much of the knowledge about the use of color in healthcare environments comes from guidelines that are based on highly biased observations and pseudo-scientific assertions. It is this unsubstantiated literature that serves color consultants to capriciously set trends for the healthcare market.” The article explains that there have been studies that conclude “color-mood association” exists, but the authors believe there is not enough evidence to prove there is a “one-to-one relationship.” This source is important to my study of the built environment because it challenges what the interior built environment of health care providers currently utilize. It presents a flaw of the built environment, one in which I may look further into.


The Hospital Built Environment. October 2005. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/hospital/hospbuilt/index.html

This webpage is a menu to a publication in which looks in depth at the built environment of hospitals. It has links to each section of the piece. It has four sections, one in which includes nine chapters. The publication includes information on the Methodology of healthcare interior design, background, and questions concerning the market for hospital design and construction, research base for the hospital built environment, major challenges in building the field of evidence-based hospital design, where the gaps are in current research, and what are the appropriate future roles for funders in advancing Evidence-based hospital design. This is a great source to use because it provides many more greatly outlined sources to use when looking at the built environment of hosipitals in depth.



Perez, Daniel. “New York City Children’s Hospital Features Pirate-Themed CAT Scan Room.” Ubergizmo (n.d.): n. pag. Ubergizmo. 06 Sept. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2016. <http://www.ubergizmo.com/2013/09/new-york-city-childrens-hospital-features-pirate-themed-cat-scan-room/>.

The article explains how the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital decided when it was time to replace their old CT scanner to redesign the CT room all together. The hospital choose to create a pirate themed room to combat the scariness of the scan for children. The article then goes into detail describing what you can see in the picture below. This article relates to my studies in that it is a creative use of the interior built environment in a children’s hospital. It shows that original designs can be manipulated and changed to become more useful.




“Georgia Institute of Technology.” GT. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://www.gatech.edu/>.

The Georgia Tech website provides general information regarding the university and its corresponding organizations. It has a general calendar that highlights many of the school’s upcoming events. Also included in the web page are links to more information regarding the university. Information concerning the admission process, alumni resources, and student resources. My interior environment is the Georgia Tech Library so this website directly relates to my focus in this project.

“Georgia Tech Library.” Georgia Tech Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <http://ww


The Georgia Tech Library website provides students with tools to help with accessing resources. These resources include but are not limited to links to the library catalog, e-journals, and research guides. The site also includes links to pages in which students can reserve study rooms. On the main page there is a brief calendar that highlights a few upcoming events. The page overall is designed to guide students on to what ever resource they may need to complete their assignments. My interior environment is the Georgia Tech Library so this website directly relates to my focus in this project.

Dead Week in the Library. YouTube. Georgia Tech Library, 4 Dec. 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axdebaR8E7s>.

The video highlights a few of the events that the Georgia Tech Library holds during what they call dead week each semester. They inform the viewer of a program the facility holds where dogs are brought in to provide stress relief for the students throughout their finals week. Other programs are highlighted as well for students to take part in in order to reduce stress during finals. The video was made to inform students of their resources during dead week as well as inform prospective students what Georgia Tech’s library has to offer. My interior environment is the Georgia Tech Library so this video directly relates to my focus in this project.


England, Trish. “Tucker History.” OTTMA. 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.ottma.com/tucker-history.html>.

            Tucker, Georgia originated as farmland, but was transitioned to connect the towns of Clarkston, Decatur, Stone Mountain, Norcross, Pittsburg and Lawrenceville through dirt roads. In result of the Seaboard Air-Line Railroad completion between Monroe, N.C. and Atlanta, rail lines were laid in Tucker. The region continued to develop schools and small businesses. The site continues to describe the transitions of businesses and residential areas in and around Tucker throughout history. The article directly relates to my built environment piece by describing the history of the region in which I am studying. By learning the history and development of Tucker, I can better understand tucker, and the direct cause and effects of its built environment.


England, Trish. “Tucker History.” OTTMA. 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.ottma.com/tucker-history.html>.

            This website provides data regarding Tucker, Georgia and its crime rates. It presents a clear line in which displays the region transitioning from safest levels to high crime. From the data provided you can conclude that the most crime falls on the south east side of Tucker, with the North West being the safest region of Tucker. Below the map the page gives statistics on the crime that takes place in Tucker. The page has a direct relationship with the build environment project in the sense that it reveals facts regarding the city of Tucker based on region, details of which reveal a direct correlation between the built environment of tucker and crime rate.

“Tucker, Georgia (GA) Income Map, Earnings Map, and Wages Data.” Tucker, Georgia (GA) Income Map, Earnings Map, and Wages Data. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Tucker-Georgia.html>.

            The Webpage provides data in regards to the Income levels distributed throughout Tucker, Georgia. According to the map there is a distinct line between income levels spanning from the south west to the north east corners of the region, the North West corner having a higher income and the South East corner being of a lower income. It presents Lawrenceville highway as the dividing factor in the income levels. This page is directly related to the built environment by providing data that can be directly linked back to the organization of the region and the surrounding built environment. By showing the direct relationship between the separation of income levels and the different sides of Lawrenceville highway, the page hints at the built environment’s involvement in this separation.

Mid Term Reflection




The academic writing process in this class is different from the way in which i have learned in the past in the nature of the writing. The writing in this class specifically involves research and personal opinion, whereas in the past i have mostly worked on narratives and persuasive essays. It has taken me a while to get use to writing reading summaries in essay format, but once i reached the third reading summary I felt more comfortable with the style of writing. I was also able to teach my self a better strategy at approaching the summaries. I have learned to first read through the writing before attempting to annotate, and then once annotating only leave information that remains relevant throughout the reading. This helps me complete the assignments faster by only focusing on relevant informations that will be included in my summary. Annotated bibliographies are also new to me and so it took me a little extra effort to understand the concept of the assignment. Now that i have completed and submitted the assigned bibliographies i understand the task and find it quick and easy to complete.

Due to the manner in which we submit our work, being a post on a public blog, the audience of our work is not limited to the professor or even our classmates. Any one with access to the internet can read our submissions. The information we post becomes more than an assignment to the class, but a published piece of information for public use. This makes completing the assignments to the best of our abilities more crucial because it not only reflects our knowledge and work ethic to our professor, but to the world. It is posted to the internet with our name, and therefore represents us to any future employers or graduate schools.

I have found weaknesses in my focus when completing reading summaries. I constantly become distracted or overwhelmed by the amount of reading remaining. I have learned to remain focused by reading aloud or enlarging the text. This has made an improvement on my comprehension of the readings and therefore the summaries in which i have written. I want to continue working on this comprehension so to then further improve my reading summaries.

I have found that, due to the need for improvement in my writing abilities and work ethic, I strongly require participation in extra point opportunities to make up for lost points. So far i have created a bio page on my blog, and have created a Facebook study group page with two of my peers. I have plans to complete many more extra point opportunities in order to achieve success in this course. I am content with the effort in which i have put into the class so far; however, I feel like i have much room for improvement and i genuinely want to succeed. In order to improve my effort put into the class, I plan to begin working on my assignments earlier so that if i do become distracted or have a hard time focusing i can take a step back and resume when i have more focus. I believe this will help me complete better writings.

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