Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Dustin D. Berna

Second Advisor

Neil Katz

Third Advisor

Judith McKay


alternative dispute resolution, architecture, conflict resolution, emotion, identity, mixed methods, social research


A grounded meta-analysis study was conducted to explore underlying hidden agendas in the design and proposed use of architectural spaces. The introduction of architecture as a discipline into the field of conflict resolution adds a new definition of conflict. It comprises the concepts of architecture in emotion, emotion in conflict, and follows through to show that architecture is tied to conflict, not only through the classical assumption of built environments, but more through the underlying emotions felt by individuals experiencing the spaces. How does architecture influence conflict? How do spaces affect emotions? How do these emotions trigger conflict? Data was analyzed through in-depth content analysis and the design and distribution of a survey and analyzed to uncover the following themes: 1) the implications of space reflect the parameters of society on individuals, communities, and nations; 2) space embodies conscious and subconscious human needs and rights; 3) space is an entity of power; and 4) the neurological and cognitive factors of the relationship between nature and the built environment affect all who are involved in both the creation and the use of spaces. This grounded meta-analysis introduces the Spatial and Intra-Intelligence Theory to address the connection of space to human identity throughout various types of conflict. This study was undertaken for multiple reasons, but one of the biggest factors for moving forward with a perspective of conflict through a spatial lens, was the potential for setting a precedence for further research merging unlikely fields with the field of conflict resolution.