This tool helps students understand how social context can influence the success or failure of projects; as a result, students will learn to design their own projects, both local and abroad, with attention to the context and the communities in which they’re working. The tool explores three different situations as models for what to do, and what not to do. These include: 1) situations where entities use technology to exploit the population; 2) situations where projects fail by not accounting for the social context of a community, and 3) situations where projects succeed by accounting for the social context of a community.
This tool was contributed by Katie Martin, Bethany Jacobs, Kevin Lanza, Molly Slavin, and Jennifer Hirsch.
Ever the Land is an internationally acclaimed documentary film about Te Kura Whare, the fully certified Living Building built by the Tūhoe, a Māori tribe of northern New Zealand. The Tūhoe built Te Kura Whare as a public community center and tribal heritage archive. This tool introduces context about the Tūhoe and the 2014 Tūhoe-Crown Settlement that is necessary for understanding the film as well as the historical and cultural significance of the Te Kura Whare (Living Building) project. An in-class “gallery walk” discussion will prepare students for a take-home writing assignment that asks them to reflect on how the film defines and represents equity.
The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech promises to be a flexible, multi-use academic space as well as the most environmentally advanced educational and research building in the Southeast. In this case study, learn about what it means for the Kendeda Building to receive certification as a “living building.” Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein environment, economy, and society all inform each other. As you read this case study, consider these terms as discrete factors, but also as connected.
This tool, intended to be used towards the beginning of the semester, helps instructors frame their course to students in relation to SLS and our mission of educating students to help “create sustainable communities.” It also prompts students to begin exploring additional opportunities for connecting to SLS, this semester and beyond.
The following rubric assesses SLO 2: Students will be able to demonstrate skills needed to work effectively in different types of communities. The goal of this SLO is for students to develop skills (e.g., communication, observation, interview, critical thinking, etc.) that are necessary to work with community collaborators in order to promote community action.
This tool uses stakeholder mapping to explore the various entities that influence and benefit from infrastructure projects. Through a short presentation and reading, students will learn about one specific infrastructure project: the Atlanta BeltLine. The BeltLine, originally conceived as a network of light rail lines connecting the city of Atlanta, is a massive project in both vision and implementation. Since its inception, the vision for the BeltLine has expanded to include objectives for parks, multi-use trails, affordable housing, historic preservation, and economic development. Different groups have influenced these priorities over time.
Proctor Creek runs through northwest Atlanta, extending from I-20 in southwest Atlanta to the Chattahoochee River. An important piece of Atlanta’s natural environment, it also has a long history of neglect and pollution, which has negatively affected its surrounding communities. In this case study, read about this history, as well as new and ongoing development projects in West Atlanta that demand close attention to the Proctor Creek Watershed. Additionally, concepts like Environmental Justice and Citizen Science will provide a lens for thinking about issues related to the creek and how to protect its surrounding communities.
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.
This tool explores the principle that environmental health impacts are a function of the inherent risk multiplied by exposure. In chemical processes we have become better at managing inherent risk, but we also have a significant legacy of mismanagement. One such example occurred in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where local politician Harold Mitchell and community organization ReGenesis tackled the problem of their community's long-term exposure to hazardous waste.
The tool below uses a video of Rep. Mitchell to explain the events in Spartanburg. It explores how local chemical plants mismanaged and deliberately covered up risks, nearly leading to a chemical disaster that they were not equipped to contain. Through this activity, you will explore and discuss how chemical engineering professionals should respond to similar situations, and what responsibilities such professionals have to the communities around them.
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.