Case Studies on Sustainable Communities

In this section, you’ll find SLS-created case studies, as well as annotated lists of case studies specific to various disciplines. This section of the SLS teaching toolkit is always growing, and we want you to be involved! Let us know of a case study pertinent to your discipline, or click here to create your own.


 

Maker Culture and Sustainable Transportation: A Case Study (GT Mechanical Engineering)

While recycling is a time-honored tradition of the environmentally-conscious, an equally powerful way to build sustainable communities is by learning to reuse and repair damaged materials. Maker culture, a version of DIY culture that delights in creation and repair, offers a model for sustainability. In this case study, follow the adventures of GT student Buzz as he sets out to repair his bike using two Georgia Tech Maker Spaces: The Starter Bikes bike repair cooperative, and the Invention Studio. By learning how to restore his bike, Buzz empowers himself to live a sustainable life in another important way: as a bike commuter. Read on to consider the intersections of maker culture and sustainable transportation.

This tool was contributed by Arkadeep Kumar, Bob Myers, and Bethany Jacobs.

The Smart, Sustainable Neighborhood: A Case Study (GT Business)

In this case study, gas and electric utility holding company Southern Company has embarked on an ambitious experiment to learn more about energy usage at a household level, as well as community-scale microgrids. Every minute, sixty-two homes in Reynolds Landing upload appliance level data to Southern Company. How can Southern Company use this vast amount of data to promote energy efficiency? Are microgrids a key to creating a more sustainable and resilient energy future? How can microgrids impact or change traditional power generation business models like those used by Southern Company? Read on to learn more and consider what kinds of experiments you would run if this was your project.

This tool was developed by Bob Myers. 

SLS Case Study: The Flint Water Crisis

The Flint Water Crisis is one of the most significant instances of environmental injustice in the 21st century.  In this case study, read about the impact of the crisis on the natural world, as well as the residents of Flint, Michigan, and learn about how we can use technology to create a safe, sustainable water system. Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein nature, technology and society all inform each other. As you read this case study, consider these terms as discrete factors, but also as connected.

This tool was contributed by Bethany Jacobs. 

ReGenesis Case Study: Creating a Sustainable Community through Collaborative Problem-Solving

This tool uses the ReGenesis case study from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to explore what it means to “create sustainable communities” through broad stakeholder engagement. Spartanburg was found to be experiencing higher levels of health issues due to chemical plants and other polluting factors in the area. ReGenesis, a community-based organization led by community member Harold Mitchell – now a member of the South Carolina legislature – worked with the EPA to use their Collaborative Problem Solving methodology to expose the inequity and turn the community around.

This tool was contributed by Kari Watkins and Delaney Rickles. The affiliated case study, "ReGenesis—A Practical Application of the CPS Model," was written by the EPA. 

SLS Case Study: The Atlanta BeltLine

The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the most important urban renewal projects of the 21st century. In this case study, read about the ambitions, successes, and struggles of this project, now in its 12th year. Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein environmental, economic, and social factors all inform each other. As you read this case study, consider these terms as discrete factors, but also as connected.  This tool was contributed by Dr. Bethany Jacobs.

Multidisciplinary Case Studies

The annotated case studies below are well-suited to courses across Georgia Tech that hope to engage their students in sustainability. Review the options available for your class, and don’t hesitate to recommend a new case study to SLS!

 

Engineering Case Studies

The annotated case studies included in this tool are well-suited to business courses across the College of Engineering. Review the options available for your class, and don’t hesitate to recommend a new case study to SLS!

Design Case Studies

The annotated case studies below are well-suited to Design courses across the College of Design. Review the options available for your class, and don’t hesitate to recommend a new case study to SLS!

 

Business Case Studies

The annotated case studies below are well-suited to business courses across the Scheller College of Business. Review the options available for your class, and don’t hesitate to recommend a new case study to SLS!

Beyond the Haircut: A University Barbershop Case Study (GT Business)

The University Barbershop stands at the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and James P Brawley Drive in Atlanta, GA. Established in 1956, it is one of the oldest barbershops in America. Today, it remains an important center where local boys find mentorship, and patrons find community.  In this case study, barber LaTeef Majaliwa contemplates the unique position of University Barbershop, and wonders how he can strength community impact while also meeting the economic needs of the barbershop and its employees. 

Lateef Majaliwa (University Barbershop) and Bob Myers (Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business) created this case to stimulate discussion around sustainable communities and business. It was supported by the Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain and the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology. (July 2017)