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/.

Ponce City Market’s Web Environment

When first entering the web page, I immediately was drawn to the words, “Ponce City Market,” and then “Come see,” followed by, “Endless Possibilities.” These words make the market seem to be a positive place just based of the positivity in the diction and the bright attractive colors used. After initially reading those words I saw the menu at the top where I could find more information organized by category. “News” and “Events” being center drew my eyes to them first, which is convenient because of the importance of keeping up with what is going on with the establishment in which the website is dedicated to.

The web page is very clean cut with only black, white, blue, and orange color, other than the bottom of the page where a photo gallery resides. These colors are visually pleasing and decreases distraction when reading off of the page. The typography changes throughout the page but keeps a very clean cut theme similar to the color scheme. Mostly block like lettering fills the page with accents of cursive like font.

As I scroll down the page I got a preview of what the different tabs in the menu might include. A brief description of the establishment and its history is located in one of many organizational blocks down the page. Next to the description, in a separate block, there is a link to a specific upcoming event.  More blocks are filled with events, videos, and photos. This method of organization makes it easier to differentiate the many sections.

The main page is very simple and aside from the description and a few other side notes, each section is kept to just a few word descriptions and then linked to another page with more information. This is very helpful to for me to navigate and find what I want without having to read extensively.

Georgia Tech’s Library, Built Environment Description


The Georgia Institute of Technology Library, located at 704 Cherry St. Atlanta, Ga 30332, is a large building on the top of a hill. I admit I was a little bit lost trying to find the building. Although both located in Atlanta, Gerogia Tech’s campus is very different from Georgia State University’s urban feeling. The Georgia Tech campus is more of a pedestrian campus than Georgia State University.


Once I found my self at the top of a hill and entering what I found to be the library, I checked in with the friendly security guard. Unlike Georgia State, all I had to do in order to enter the library was have my I.D checked and recorded, but then I was well on my way. Looking around there were only security at the front entrance. I thought this was interesting because when ever I enter Georgia State’s library the first thing I notice is the abundance of police and security.


I took a seat by the stairwell to wait for my friend Jacob, whom I asked to come spend time with me while I observed the library. When he called me to tell me he had arrived, he asked me where I was. I honestly told him I did not know. Then I realized there really were no distinctive landmarks to any section of what I had so far seen of this library. Luckily I saw him walking around the corner moments later. Jacob showed me that a few floors up they have a seating area that was flled with students studying and doing homework. We took our seat in a small booth in the corner of the room so that I could see all that was going on in the room in front of us.


Jacob watching people with me.

Not much happened while I sat in the Georgia Tech library. Everyone was so focused on their schoolwork, it was almost silent. I literally heard a pen drop from across the room at one point. mostly students were using their laptops while a handful of people had physical books in front of them to study. Every once and a while a new handful of people would cycle in and out of the study environment. Each time a new person entered they would find a seat, and pull one of the over head extention cord over to their work station. I continued to watch this occur and occur for a few hours before needing to leave.


Study Room In library

Annotated Bib. #2

“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.


Henderson Park’s Built Environment


I arrived at 2803 Henderson Rd., Tucker, otherwise known as Henderson Park, and immediately saw that a few of the many soccer fields located at the entrance of the park were occupied by a few families playing around. There were loud sounds of kids laughing and yelling. Parents were gathered in groups around the border of the fields. When I got out of my car I realized that I knew some of the people gathered on the fields. The Munroe’s, a family I babysit for, were on the field playing soccer together. I said hello and then continued to walk from the field to the path winding down to the lower park area. I walked past a couple and their dog preparing to go on a hike. They had a backpack ready next to their car and were hooking their dog to the leash. Once I made my way down to the lower part of the park, I found myself walking towards a playground and picnic area where children were running around screaming and laughing. While the kids were loud, I still felt a sense of peace and quiet in contrast to the busy noise of the city that I am used to. I decided to go sit by the lake on the small deck. I watched as people came and went from the hiking trails. Groups of teenagers, families, and couples came and went throughout the duration of my visit.  Other than the sounds of people talking as they passed, I could hear ducks quacking as they swam around the deck in which I was sitting on. The park, aside from the playground, was accented mostly with colors of grey of the concrete slabs in which the structures were comprised. Asphalt lines the park in the trail down to the playground and then a wood pavilion sits beside the play area. Walls build to support the slope of the hill were also made of stone and concrete. The park has an overall feeling of being in mountains and peaceful, while still being of manmade structure. As a whole the park felt safe and inviting.


Addison Munroe Playing Soccer

Henderson Park

According to DeKalb county’s Park and Recreation information website, Henderson Park is a 114 acre park located in Tucker, Georgia. It encompasses a large recreational area designated for TYSA Soccer League. The park then winds down to a lower play area and deck looking over a small lake. The park then also includes many trails that circulated through the woods and feature creek and waterfall access. The park is accessed through a residential neighborhood.





“DeKalb County Parks & Recreation.” DeKalb County Parks & Recreation. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016. <http://www.co.dekalb.ga.us/parks/pr-fa-tucker.html>.

Annotated bibliographies

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.