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Reclaiming Identity through Space: Designing for the Multiracial and Multicultural

The population of multiracial and multicultural individuals in the United States has steadily risen, but few public spaces have been designed to represent them or express their identities. Individuals in this group can find themselves feeling isolated from spaces because they feel like “imposters” or that they have to choose only one part of their identity to belong. How can we create public spaces that encourage people to express all parts of their multiracial or multicultural identity in a way that is inclusive, educational, and encourages cultural exchange? Through research of existing design methods and practices, this project addresses how public spaces can be created to include multiracial and multicultural individuals. I provide design methods and practices in four categories: cultural exchange; cultural education; safety and inclusion; and expression. These methods are compiled into a set of guidelines and best practices to guide designers through the creation of multiracial and multicultural spaces. These guidelines fill a gap between white and other mono-cultural spaces to create public spaces where multiracial and multicultural individuals can find belonging in. As a product created for designers, these guidelines bring the multiracial and multicultural identities into conversations and processes that they would not normally be a part of. This project reflects my own desire to see my multiracial and multicultural identity and others like me reflected in public spaces and serves as an example of why spaces like this are important and why representation matters.