Innovating for Social Impact (I4SI)

Vertically Integrated Project: Building for Equity and Sustainability

This VIP takes as its main focus Georgia Tech’s new Living Building – the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design – and its efforts to advance social equity as a key part of building and operating a sustainable building. The team will also explore equity and resilience in sustainability projects in partner communities in Atlanta and Georgia. Our research team includes GT students, faculty, and staff. This VIP is affiliated with Serve- Learn-Sustain (SLS), and we will work with them to collaborate with community and industry partners.

Social Impact: In-depth Exploration and Design

This course is for those curious (maybe even passionate) about social and/or environmental issues, who want to understand the root cause of those issues, and the challenges of providing evidence-based solutions. You will explore topics and master tools like: Impact Gap Canvas, Asset-Based Community Development, Human-Centered Design, systems thinking, social impact assessment, customer discovery, Theory of Change, and more.

Social Entrepreneurship

Social enterprises are dedicated to creating social value by attracting private and public funds to address the challenges of society. They may take the form of a nonprofit, for-profit or hybrid organization. These organizations apply business and market principles in their efforts to solve problems not addressed by the private sector and governments. One of the critical tasks of social enterprises is to grow and scale, as the consequences of poverty, environmental issues, education, and human injustices are global and systemic.

Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Communities

Workshop focused course on stormwater management, green infrastructure, and sustainable development.

Urban Sociology

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the field of urban sociology by exploring the history and current conditions of cities. This course will be geared toward viewing the city as a simultaneously social, cultural, and political economic phenomenon, with particular attention to the following: a) urbanization and the structure of cities; b) suburbanization; c) sustainable urban growth and economics; d) race and segregation; e) immigration; g) culture; h) gender and sexuality; i) gentrification and housing policy; j) environmental justice; and k) sustainable communities.

Residential Design and Construction

The course will move students through the process of designing and building a home working with a local non-profit developer. The process will move from the duediligence of lot selection and determining the best use for a lot within the constraints of an organization working to move a community from rental to home ownership. Once a footprint is determined, a home will be designed to include plans, elevations, structural components, and a sustainability plan based on an EarthCraft Worksheet. Projects will be delivered to the Executive team of the non-profit.

Vertically Integrated Project: Humanitech

GT faculty are working on a range of ongoing and exploratory humanitarian research topics. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to this research and get them involved to help advance the work. The studio class is team-based and students will work with GT faculty, other university faculty, NGOs and others depending on project needs.

Smart and Sustainable Cities

This course is open to all undergraduate Civil and Environmental engineering majors. It will be taught in three parts. In Part I, the course will focus on providing a broad overview of how cities function by examining the various urban systems (e.g., transportation infrastructure, power supply, water distribution, buildings, etc.) and their interdependencies in relation to each other and to human and natural systems. This will be explored in the context of the role urban systems play in understanding and achieving urban sustainability.

Foundations of Sustainable Systems

How can we accelerate progress towards a more sustainable world? How do we create sustainable systems for the 21st century? This course discusses how to employ a systems framework to advance sustainability at multiple scales, including a community, a region, a supply chain, a company, or an entire nation. The course considers sustainability from its theoretical foundations to its modern-day practice, incorporating environmental, economic, and social dimensions.

Semester in the City: Engaging Communities

“Semester in the City” seeks to familiarize students with nearby Westside communities that have historically faced, and continue to face serious sustainability challenges – even as they continue to develop significant strategies for positive change.  Students learn how ecological, social, and economic systems have operated in these neighborhoods and explore how policy and community mobilization approaches might be re-envisioned to improve liveability.

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