Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Diane Jones Allen


Homelessness is a critical social crisis impacting the United States in the 21st century. According to The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, in 2019 there were eight states that displayed a significant increase in the homeless population since 2010, with California and New York states having the most homeless. Even though homeless populations reportedly decreased in 2019 in the U.S. since 2010, most states continue to have large numbers of homeless populations, making this a persisting crisis in 2021 (United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, n.d.). In 2019 Texas was among the top seven states with the largest homeless populations in the U.S. with a total of 25,848 homeless individuals. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Irving, Dallas City and County estimated 4,538 homeless individuals on a given night in 2019. The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance 2020 point in time count shows that there was a nine percent increase since 2017. People experiencing homelessness have historically been marginalized and excluded from their communities. Urban landscapes in the United States, such as in Dallas, Texas do not offer people experiencing homelessness public spaces where their voices and stories can be heard and represented. They are usually unwelcomed and excluded from public spaces, such as parks and sidewalks. This thesis aims to provide a platform for artists who have experienced homelessness to share their voices and empower this underserved community. This thesis aimed to achieve this through the exploration of the personal narratives of five artists who have experienced homelessness and two who never experienced homelessness themselves, but have worked closely with those that have. These artists shared their personal experiences with homelessness in the city of Dallas, Texas through a temporary public art installation as a means of discovering if temporary public art can become a tool of empowerment for people experiencing homelessness and a stimulus for change in the local communities’ perceptions of homelessness. Employing the action research approach, three specific events were coordinated: the backpack exchange, the mural painting day, and the opening reception day. The study evaluated the impact the design process and final art installation has on the participants and the local community. The Literature Review provided a framework for the development of the project. Two surveys were administered to provide data on the participants’ experience and a third survey assessed the communities’ views towards homelessness. The findings revealed that this type of project does empower marginalized communities, such as the homeless community in the city of Dallas, Texas. Even though not all people visiting the exhibit expressed a sense of connection with the art created, it did get them to think and talk about homelessness. Findings showed that art can become a catalyst for people to address homelessness. The findings implied that similar projects could be accomplished to empower the homeless and other underserved communities. This thesis research provides evidence that homeless artists can feel empowerment from sharing their art with the larger community.


Temporary public art, Social-justice, Homelessness, Urban spaces, Dallas(Tex.)


Architecture | Landscape Architecture


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington