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UC Santa Cruz


A user-centered approach to the student housing experience

UC Santa Cruz faced a growing demand for student housing. The university enlisted architecture firm SCB to develop a housing master plan for its West Campus. MKThink led the stakeholder engagement to inform the plan. MKThink applied a user-centered approach to identify affordable and attractive options that meet the university’s sustainability goals and reflect the values of the campus community. The project team engaged stakeholders with interactive exercises. Through empathy mapping, faculty and staff created student personas to define a vision for the residential experience. Students and staff played the Build Your Own Apartment game to prioritize preferences when factoring in trade-offs.


DATE: 2014 - 2015
CITY: Santa Cruz
STATE: California
MARKET: Higher Education


CHALLENGE: To address a growing demand for student housing with a user-centered approach to identify affordable and attractive options.
SERVICES: Stakeholder Engagement.
RESULT:  Insights from the exercises MKThink ran defined design schemes with potential cost savings of up to $30 million for the university.
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