Date of this Version
Meyer, L 2020. Epicenter: An Investigation of Interior Design's Influence of the American Suburban Situation. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The suburbs cause isolation and poor physical and mental health for a variety of individuals, including parents, teenagers, and the elderly. Neighborhood design rarely considers marginalized teenagers and elderly, but instead focuses on the automobile. Teenagers show higher rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse in suburban areas than in urban areas. Millennial desire for suburbs that are engaging and elderly desire to remain in their homes longer demands reconsideration of the current suburban model. Big-box store blight ravages suburban communities damaging local economies and diminishing community curb-appeal. Closing box stores compounds the suburban dweller’s reliance on the automobile, continuing the cycle of dependency. The following creative design proposal is a design research response to current conditions of the American suburbs. This creative research proposal seeks to address how interior design might positively respond to the challenges of current suburban situation. Through projective prototyping, design research is conducted and new ideas for the betterment of suburbia are explored. Cross generational and cross-cultural neighborhoods with a variety of neighborhood supports are necessary for a sustainable suburban future. This projective design research project seeks to promote walkability and reduce reliance on the automobile, providing engaging activities for both teens and elders, and relieving parents from shuttle duty. Adaptive reuse of abandoned box stores and creative infill creates dynamic and sustainable neighborhoods with a positive future. This proposal specifically addresses a site of adaptation in southern Lincoln, Nebraska; however, the intent of the proposal is that the concept could, and should, continue to be explored and considered in suburban communities in many places.