Georgia Tech In Focus

Within any designed space there is an inherent emotional feeling evoked from the qualities of one’s environment. Whether they be fascination at the complex architecture of a building, or anxiety within the blank walled confounds of a hospital waiting room. The objects, colors, textures, and utilization of space are defining features of how built environment influences, evokes, and/or enhances different moods or emotions from the people who occupy these spaces.

Photo by Bret Price










With a primary focus on the way objects, specifically art installations, affect public spaces, I turn to examine the campus of Atlanta’s own Georgia Tech. The University’s grand grounds exhibit expansive walking spaces secluded from cars and road traffic. Most importantly though are the 8 art installations strategically sprawled along the walk ways. With general themes of modern art, displaying focuses on geometric, spatial, texture and colored based themes, the installations individually instill different ideas that challenge ideas such as perspective and interpretation. When looked upon together though, I believe the art pieces communicate ideas relatable to something as bold as the human condition. Aspiration, conflict, mortality, and curiosity are all concepts that can be interpreted by the art within Georgia Tech’s university grounds. Although some of the pieces on campus can be interpreted as bold and heavy, their appearances at first glance generally give off positive vibes due to the use of vibrant colors and interesting geometric design.

Photo by Doug Schartz, 2013









When an object or art piece is newly introduced to an already established environment, it influences the behavior in different forms of those who interact with it on a daily basis. Introducing interesting and mentally stimulating art pieces and integrating them within common campus life intends to not only challenge the interpretations of students but also to enrich their built environment with revitalizing structures. Georgia Tech’s campus displays an importance on the usage of space and it’s positive relaxing effects on a community; in conjuncture with the art installations a culture of recreation is integrated with the learning spaces of the University.

Photo by Adam Garey







The sculptures all exhibit entirely different geometric patterns and interactions within the pieces. Weaving beams of rusted orange and brown reaching skyward, a crown of vibrant steel red thorns ordered in random seemingly chaotic heights and angles, even what appears as a broken spring of bright orange, large and overturned with rings criss-crossing and curling around one another. These are the images of modern art that adorn the walking spaces of Georgia Tech, yet they hold the ability to contribute so much more to the student community than just passing fascination.

Photo by Peter Lundberg












Art is integral to the notion of challenging complacent perspective, allowing for creative interpretations of imagery, and evoking emotions or feelings from their observers. Georgia Tech’s built environment mirrors the mission the University continues to fulfill; to continue improving the human condition through innovation.

Photo by Verina Baxter


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Georgia Tech Personal Environment Response

Photo by user “Kevrez” taken April 24th, 2017

Georgia Tech, Atlanta’s leading research university, hosts one of the most brilliantly designed urban University campus’ across the nation. Hidden between the sky scrapers of the city lies an emerald of green space and wandering concrete paths that intertwine into one another seamlessly, guiding you through the university environment as if it was natural.

Whilst letting myself get lost within the ever winding foot paths of the campus I often found myself among class room buildings and student centers; spaced nicely and individually from one another commonly, and almost always in a color of white which evoked emotions of prestige, modernism, and unearthed knowledge. The most prominent feature of the campus landscape however, is how astoundingly spread out the university allows itself to be by establishing vast areas of green space rivaling that of small parks throughout the campus. Long, red brick walkways adorned with Victorian lamp posts cutting through the center of these fields not only connects the student body within the space, but attracts them to utilize and engross themselves within the calming environment. By creating an enclosed, attractive outlet space which only hosts other like minded student peers, Georgia Tech has created a perfect counter weight to the stress seen common in University students.

Walking through Georgia Tech’s pedestrian focused veins through campus evoked a feeling of wonder into me as the school further entangled me in it’s illusion; letting me forget that just over the tree tops on the horizon were the ever looming buildings that create Atlanta’s skyline. Tech’s illusive built environment is nothing short of a magic trick; the space seems to exist outside the standard rules and bustle of the city, situating itself silently and with tact precision among the centennial, west midtown districts.

Dotted across the campus, some seemingly randomly and others at popular foot path intersections, are various art installations ranging from modern steel sculptures to artistic interpretations of an enlarged Einstein sitting across stair steps. These pieces, odd and various, can only be interpreted personally when looking at the ideas they invoke together:


Vibrant, winding, and spiraling shapes evoke ideas of creativity and innovation, while also enriching the homeliness of the campus environment. Memorable land markers such as these art installations not only assist a students sense of direction, but also allow them to internalize the details that adorn the universities green spaces and walkways and give way to a greater sense of community and secure living space.

Photo by Joshua Garrick taken on June 21, 2013

Georgia Tech manages to establish a university living space and learning environment which challenges students to constantly push their boundaries through a culture supported by the prestige of the campus architecture. Beyond challenging their student body however, Georgia Tech has also established itself as a home for invigorating and relaxing students along their academic climb.


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Little Five Points’ Focused Environment

Atlanta can be broken up into several distinct neighborhoods or districts all which offer different vibes based on the people that make up the area and the specific culture that stems from these areas. The most alternative of these neighborhoods Atlanta has to offer being Little Five Points. There are an almost infinite number of ideas that could be utilized to define the space of the off beat district; types of buildings, store fronts, street art, color usage, and the list could easily go on, yet I don’t believe Little Five Points is defined out right by the architecture within it’s location. The true defining idea of what establishes Little Five Points’ progressive identity is established by the people who inhabit it’s space, sidewalks, store fronts, and plaza.

With this idea in mind as I allowed myself to stroll through the environment and eventually stop to take in it’s perplexing array of individuals that so clearly make this area one of the most interesting in all of Atlanta. From record store to plaza bench I experienced a myriad of personality. Allowing myself to roam freely through each store front I deemed interesting I found myself within Criminal Records, the local record store which hosts a very distinct homegrown air about it. Gazing through the buzzing store at what had to be one of it’s busiest hours I noticed an obvious trend among the majority of shoppers; they all made an effort to stand out through alternative fashion trends. Nose rings, septum piercings, electric blue hair, and jean jackets littered with patches are some distinct examples of what sculpted each person within the space as unique, yet ironically kept them grouped them together in my analysis simultaneously.

taken by user “Mike” on October 16, 2012

Browsing the store I found an album of a band I considered to be my personal secret as their following was generally considered underground, yet upon picking it up for examination I was complimented on my taste by a short girl who had to be in her early 20s donning a cute pixie cut, jet black hair, and anywhere from 3-5 piercings between her ears and nose. Upon check out I found myself behind a middle aged man and his wife hoisting what had to be a haul of nearly 30 comic books politely stressing to the cashier to check their stock for a specific United States only edition of a D.C. comic in a distinctly British accent. As their conversation continued I was able to collect that the man and his wife were comic book collectors from London, yet only had the British English print of the treasure they so long sought after.

My point in outlining these people is to establish how I internally categorized those of the neighborhood. Little Five Point’s inhabitants, although incredibly diverse through appearance, can be separated into two categories; the alternative and the abstract.

“Little Five Points’ Halloween parade”
Taken on October 17, 2009 by Jason Riedy

The majority of people lining the coffee shops, pizza spots, and tattoo parlors of Little Five adorn and project themselves with objects of underground, alternative culture which challenges that of the traditional and mainstream. They wear black on their clothes, vibrant colors in their hair, and silver through whichever crevice of their face can hold it. They are engrossed by all types of art and music, unafraid to explore the undiscovered, and have established a distinct homegrown, local culture in the district that upholds individuality and acceptance above all.

Between the alternative however, are the individuals that I believe truly define the nuances of Little Five Points’ oddities: the people I can only describe as the abstract. This is a category of people who can not be categorized, as their sheer personality and appearance even upon first sight can only be rationalized by the same mechanics that keep reality stranger than any imaginable fiction. These are the individuals who keep Little Five Points (and arguably all of Atlanta) odd. They are comic book collectors from across the Atlantic Ocean, and musicians busking on the streets with acoustic guitar rhythms and over turned plastic bucket beats.

Photo by D. Garvin/Journalist (c) 2013

Little Five Points is a neighborhood unrivaled in it’s individuality, and it’s people are it’s flavor.

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The ATL Beltline & Built Environment

Amanda Tyler connects the effects of built environment and overall community health within Atlanta by examining birth outcomes as a type of metric. Specifically focusing on the Atlanta Beltline and how it has changed the lives of people living within a mile to half mile radius, Tyler reports overwhelming positive impact on the active lifestyles of those that take advantage of the paved trail system circling the city. Beyond the obvious positive effects of an increase in physical activity to an individual that the trails provide, they are also decorated with invigorating green space along with commissioned art pieces which decorate the 33 mile track. The Beltline has not only created an easily accessible exercise space for Atlanta civilians, but also an area which has the potential to drastically strengthen the overall health and inter connectivity of the people that surround it.

The Beltline’s art infrastructure and green space becomes my primary focus in relating this journal to my argument piece. Outside of the influences of physical activity on better health conditions, I believe the Beltline to be a vital location in the comparison of Atlanta’s built environments based on crime rate, public art, and general vandalism (graffiti/tags/broken windows) because it’s most popular stretches are all located within areas of significant art culture in the city, namely the neighborhoods surrounding Krog Street and Cabbagetown. Tying this together with the broken window theory, the beltline is a beacon of communal order due to how it’s open green appearances affect the communities that utilize it. Rather than attempting to reduce vandalism and other disruptions, the trail has the ability to increase residents satisfaction in the surrounding areas.

Tyler, Amanda, “Built Environment and Birth Outcomes: Examining the Exposure to the Atlanta Beltline and Its Effects on Community Health.” Thesis, Georgia State University, 2015.

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Broken Windows & Standards of Order

In Dunham and Alpert’s book Critical Issues in Policing, concepts of perceived safety are challenged and compared with actual crime rates based on the presence or lack of a foot patrol police unit within and surrounding neighborhoods. Results generally revealed that residents felt greatly at ease and more secure with the presence of foot cops compared to neighborhoods lacking them, yet despite this attitude crime rates within both spaces had remained similar if not exactly the same. The book goes on to detail an idea integral to my research and argument known as the Broken Windows Theory summed up accurately as, “serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked.” One broken window in a building begets another; the more likely an area looks prone to petty crime, the more likely that area will receive this vandalism. The patrol cops are linked to the broken window theory in the sense that although they did not outright lower crime rates, they created order within the communities that they walked the streets of. Patrol cops prevented untended behavior; actions that break down the unity of a community and eventually lead to the slippery slope of degradation.

In relation to my own argument I can find support in the idea that street art not only creates unity within a community, but also that it improves the quality of the area by upholding a higher standard of order.

Dunham, Roger G., and Geoffrey P. Alpert. Critical issues in policing: contemporary readings. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2015. Print.

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Neighborhood Effects on Mental Health

Photo by Thomas Galvez Taken on July 1, 2011

Mental health is deeply intertwined with the built environment and conditions of every day life surrounding you. Low socioeconomic status inevitably creates strain and thus stress on civilians not only due to a lack in funds to live off of, but also because of the environments, situations, and importantly limitations associated with poverty. Tama Leventhal and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn of the American Public Health Association conducted an experimental study on the effects of neighborhoods (based on socioeconomic status) and the concurrent mental health status of the residing residents. Select families located in high-poverty neighborhoods were relocated to “non-poor” residences to live and be later compared with families of their original impoverished neighborhood. The experiment was followed up on 3 years after the relocation; revealing significantly less stress in parents that had moved and greatly decreased mental health issues such as depression or anxiety in their children. The experiment ultimately provides hard evidence on how the abstract concept of built design and environment can affect mental health and not just stress.

This evidence is beneficial to my argument as it provides substantial information on the relationships between graffiti, street art, and vandalism, and how they affect the communities central to them. Poor neighborhoods are more prone to small petty crime such as tagging, and thus according to the Broken Window Theory, these small crimes multiply while the community around them takes little to no action. All these “broken windows” create a subjectively more hostile environment, limiting community interaction and further the already stressful situation of the poor.

Leventhal, Tama, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. “Moving to Opportunity: an Experimental Study of Neighborhood Effects on Mental Health.” American Journal of Public Health 93.9 (2003): 1576-582. Web.

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Graffiti, Greenery, and Health

Anne Ellaway, Sally Macintyre, and Xavier Bonnefoy employed a cross sectional study on the relationship between obesity, green space, and graffiti or general vandalism across multiple European countries and cities. This survey found astonishing, dramatic results on the influences of built environment and it’s relationship with the general health and obesity levels of a community. According to the results of respondents to the survey, a “healthy” environment with available green space correlated with the likelihood of obesity being 40% less likely. On the opposite end of this coin however, residents who lived in environments with “incivilities” had a likelihood of being obese 50% higher in comparison. This study provides incredible evidence and support to my argument, as it scientifically reports a direct correlation between vandalism within a community and destructive health habits for it’s residents. The idea of graffiti objectively degrading the quality of life of the civilians sharing the space it occupies was an incredibly difficult claim to support adequately before I found solid number based evidence such as this to back the idea. Although this work mentions nothing of purposefully placed and approved street art and only graffiti instead, I do not believe it is a far stretch to assume the conditions found within less healthy communities could also be classified as dangerous. This connection is incredibly important to the support of sanctioned street art, as it would establish a definitive line regarding the societal perceptions of urban art/design and whether or not it is seen positively in comparison to graffiti.

Ellaway, A. “Graffiti, greenery, and obesity in adults: secondary analysis of European cross sectional survey.” Bmj 331.7517 (2005): 611-12. Web. <>.

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Street Art as Political Communication

photography by user “Id-iom” taken March 2nd, 2011

Chaffee, Lyman G. Political protest and street art: popular tools for democratization in Hispanic countries. Westport, Conn. u.a.: Greenwood Press, 1993. Print.

Chaffee highlights the potential of street art within the Hispanic world as an important medium to communicate political messages or ideals publicly from individuals who often have little voice or influence within their communities. This idea of a public, anonymous voice giving power to the common man is at what I believe to be the core of graffiti culture. Beyond uniting communities through art and decorating wall space the way street art does, graffiti empowers anyone with a message to stand against unfair legislation or abuses of power. In application to my own argument, I believe that there is an important distinction between decorative art, and political pieces, the latter of which are less likely to be found within thriving interconnected communities. Political graffiti stems from an entirely different if not opposite school of thought than traditional street art; it is meant to create upheaval within the space it is placed within. Graffiti as a tool of political unrest is incredibly powerful as it’s images unite communities under one banner similarly to how decorative street art can establish bonds through common connections within their given space. Most importantly outlined within this article I find, is the idea that street art/graffiti finds no need to leave itself neutral or impartial on the events it may be reporting or critiquing. All of these ideals are integral to my argument on the inverse relationship between vandalism and the placement of “professional” street art within a space, because the fundamental reasons for utilizing urban art are drastically important to how they affect their space. Purposefully, government sanctioned art pieces create a much different environment than the art of outraged revolutionists. Focus on the “why” behind art, and the state of it’s space will reflect this.

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How does evidence apply to title thesis? Concept introduced on 1st slide but different ideas elaborated on and supported through the rest. Tie these together.

Slight grammatical errors: open quotation on 4th slide, double negative (, & run on sentence.

Explain concepts more clearly before utilizing them in argument for reader’s purpose. Consider audience.

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Annotated Bib: “Visual Art as Revolutionary Rower: Street Art as Religious, Geological, ana Ethical Declaration in Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring”

Myhre, Paul O. “Visual Art as Revolutionary Power: Street Art as Religious, Theological, and Ethical Declaration in Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring.” ARTS, vol. 23, no. 4, 2012, pp. 20-36. EBSCOhost,

Paul Myhre elaborates on the sweeping sensation of street art as the twenty first centuries modern renaissance. As an honest reflection of the struggles and beliefs of the people surrounding the art, murals translate modern struggles with little regard for censorship of general opinion on global issues. Explicitly in relation to the Arab Spring of 2011, street art explodes during periods of political unrest; purposefully painted outside of galleries and art institutions these murals not only reflect societal disturbances but also integrate themselves into the built environment of the cities they are created within. This visual representation of political upheaval creates unity within a community to rally behind; in relation to political movements these art pieces not only function as objections themselves, but also as banners for communities to rally behind. This piece is relevant to my argument as it details the communal effects of art in urban settings. These murals become more important than the buildings they are painted upon, as they can establish ideas citizens within an area can relate and respond to. The art pieces become familiar to a community and provide a common ground for people who may not have shared anything otherwise.

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