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Next Gen Dorms

There is emerging evidence of a growing, nationwide crisis where college students are struggling to find safe, affordable places to live near the campus they attend. Growing research suggests that housing insecurity, along with other basic needs such as food insecurity, is associated with poor academic outcomes. Housing insecurity is further associated with poorer self-reported physical health, symptoms of depression, and higher perceived stress (Goldrick-Rab, et al., 2018).

Acknowledging the gap in data on student housing security is a first step towards addressing the issue. Moreover, student housing security is affected by students’ long commutes--at UCLA as well as other universities in major cities, the number of students with commutes of over 90 minutes is growing. “Super-commuting” is the by-product of a housing market that continues to price out Los Angeles residents who can no longer afford to live near where they work and attend school. In addition to examining current housing conditions, cityLAB is conducting research on the impact of extreme commutes on college students.


Project Type:    research, design, policy
Participants:    cityLAB
Timeline:    2018-Present
Themes:    new infrastructure, postsuburban city
 
 

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At UCLA as well as other universities in major cities, the number of students with commutes of over 90 minutes is growing. “Super-commuting” is the by-product of a housing market that continues to price out Los Angeles residents who can no longer afford to live near where they work and attend school. In many ways, the condition of Super Commuters presents a new type of housing problem brought on by the fact that while the nature of work has become increasingly digital, the majority of universities still require students to be physically present. Although the response to this phenomenon in the workforce has been a shift in the nature of work itself and a trend towards telecommuting, universities like UCLA require that students attend class regularly or suffer academic consequences. cityLAB is conducting research on the impact of extreme commutes on college students. From a broad survey in partnership with UCLA Transportation, cityLAB is studying new types of “dormitories” for non-traditional students who live far from campus, who are likely to sleep overnight in their cars on occasion, who need on-campus spaces for cooking, storage, and napping, and who might use a low-cost hotel near campus several times a month. Design experiments will be shared for feedback with student super-commuters before submitting to campus administrators supporting the research.