Equitable and Sustainable Development

Kendeda Building Participatory Design Game

This tool adapts the Smart Cities Kit to Georgia Tech’s Living Building, the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design. The activity prompts students to imagine stakeholder experiences in specific situations throughout the Kendeda Building. The goal is to translate the equity objectives of Serve-Learn-Sustain’s Equity Petal Work Group into the concrete experiences of their everyday lives at Georgia Tech.

Smart Cities Kit

The Smart Cities Kit is a set of hands-on materials that supports collaborative scenario building activities. These activities can foster a greater understanding of smart-cities as socio-technical systems. Through these activities, students should develop an appreciation for how smart cities technologies fit or don’t fit into the fabric of everyday life in the city. The kit requires no background knowledge in design or participatory methods. It can be customized for specific technologies or scenarios, and it can be used across the curriculum. The Smart City tool is available for check-out from the Serve-Learn-Sustain office.

Each kit imagines a team of 5-10 students, but it is possible to make a single kit stretch over twenty students. Email us for more details, and to inquire about check-out. 

Introduction to Equitable and Sustainable Development

This tool uses the Atlanta BeltLine project to introduce students to key concepts in Equitable and Sustainable Development, particularly as it pertains to large infrastructure projects. Through a combination of take-home readings, lecture, and in-class group activity, students will explore the successes, and critiques of the BeltLine project. Equally important, they will learn to define what infrastructure means, what it does, and how we can impact its development in order to achieve equity and sustainability.

This tool was created by Bethany Jacobs and Dave Ederer. 

Readings, Videos, and Resources about Equitable and Sustainable Development

The Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain aims to help students create sustainable communities, where humans and nature flourish in the present and future. One SLS Priority area concerning sustainable communities is Equitable & Sustainable Development, focuses on how environment, economy, equity and society shape large infrastructure projects.

Living Infrastructure: The Atlanta BeltLine

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.

Urban Heat Islands and the Georgia Tech Climate Network

Extreme heat leads to more deaths in the US than all other natural disasters combined, and as global temperatures rise, so will the dangers. Urban areas, such as Georgia Tech’s campus, are of primary concern because of the urban heat island effect – the phenomenon in which cities are warmer than nearby rural areas.

Georgia Tech needs your help! This tool will teach you more about the urban heat island effect. You’ll identify real-world urban heat islands on the Georgia Tech campus and propose strategies to reduce temperatures at these campus hot spots. We encourage you to send your recommendations to Georgia Tech’s Urban Climate Lab for consideration! 

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.

Sustainability at Georgia Tech: Campus Tour and Journaling Activity

This journaling tool, based on a lesson created by Yelena Rivera-Vale and Kristina Chatfield, introduces first year students to Georgia Tech’s efforts to create a sustainable campus community. Touring sites on campus, documenting the tour experience through journaling and photography, and considering the ways that sustainable design can impact the environment, equity, and economy will teach students about how effective sustainable design impacts both Georgia Tech and the wider Atlanta community.