American Studies

Roya Chagnon - Art, Architecture, Design, and Landscape in America

After graduating with a double major in American Studies and Urban Studies, Roya spent a year working at the Oakland Department of Transportation, redesigning streets and conducting community outreach to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety in Oakland’s most underserved neighborhoods. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Architecture at UCLA, where she is also part of the Urban Humanities certificate program.

Area of Concentration Courses

Architecture 110AC - The Social and Cultural Basis of Design
Architecture 179 - Special Topics in the History of Architecture
History of Art 110C-31 - Spanish Contemporary Art- University of Barcelona
Theater 173A - Scenography: Scenic Design for the Theatre
Urban Studies 106C-31: Community and City - University of Barcelona
Landscape Architecture C171 - The American Designed Landscape Since 1850


Cartography of Fear: Environmental Design and Women’s Emotional Geographies

Roya’s honors thesis explores how environmental design contributes to gendered differences in the experience and perception of public space. In particular, it analyzes perceptions of safety on and around the urban university campus. Feminist geographers, planners, and historians have frequently described how women’s experiences in the public realm have been restricted as a result of longstanding sociocultural values. Additionally, anxieties about crime have consistently shaped the cultural imagination, and in turn, the built form of urban environments. By collecting and mapping University of California, Berkeley students’ geographies of fear, this study shows that certain types of places are more conducive to fear than others. Furthermore, traditional ideas about what makes spaces feel safe are not always effective for women. Through further analysis of an urban space (Telegraph Avenue) and the campus’s outdoor green spaces, this thesis will demonstrate how unequal geographies of fear are shaped by the intersection of culture and design. It concludes that design that is more conscious of emotional connections to the environment can promote more equitable experiences in the public realm.

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