Equity, Justice & Sustainability

Technology and Social Context

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" Living Building Documentary: A Guided Reflection

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.

Fundamentals of Equity in the Sustainable Built Environment

This tool introduces students to the different ways in which equity can be deeply embedded in the design of the built environment, in different phases from beginning to end. It encourages students to consider equity more comprehensively as a foundational component of sustainability. This tool is grounded in the following three key documents: Inclusion by Design (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment [CABE]), Getting Beyond Green Report (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP]), and the SLS Teaching Tool: Introduction to Equitable and Sustainable Development.

An Introduction to Climate Resilience

Climate change poses numerous and multi-faceted threats to existing ecological and social systems. Climate resilience is the concept of anticipating climate-related stresses to these systems in order to increase their capacity to adapt to climate change, although definitions of resilience vary based on discipline and the systems being examined. Assessment of climate vulnerability, or the degree to which systems and communities are susceptible to the effects of climate change, informs efforts to increase resilience. This tool defines and gives examples of climate resilience and vulnerability through the lens of three areas of research underway at Georgia Tech. First, students will view slides explaining climate resilience and climate vulnerability. Students will then view videos featuring three Georgia Tech faculty describing how their work contributes to enhancing climate resilience. Finally, students will discuss the connections they have made between key concepts in climate resilience and the role of research in developing strategies for climate adaptation.

This tool was contributed by Bonnie Lapwood and Ben Shipley.

Storytelling Equity

This tool facilitates meaningful discussions on equity through the lens of storytelling. The goal of the tool is to help science and technology students use narrative as a method of quickly testing ideas. As Jeremy Ackerman claims, “Telling a story is a much faster way of rapid prototyping than actually trying to create prototypes.” By creating and shaping stories we can learn more about ourselves, others, and the problems we seek to solve. As we know, “the United States is rich with the stories of the diverse groups that make up this country. […] Not all stories, however, are equally acknowledged, affirmed or valued.” (The Storytelling Project, Lee Anne Bell and Rosemarie Roberts). By creating and shaping stories to serve the goals of their discipline students will acquire a better understanding of what equity means, where it lacks, and how to foster it.

Kendeda Building Water, Energy, and Materials Tour

This is a video-guided in-person tour of the Kendeda building, focused on the Water, Energy, and Materials Petals of the Living Building Challenge.  While on the tour, students are asked to reflect on a few aspects of equity and inclusion, which they later submit through a Canvas assignment.  The video tour can be accessed here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BD8413uu74Q&feature=youtu.be

This tool was contributed by Jennifer Leavey

Interested in additional Kendeda tours?  Check out our Equity Petal Tour tool HERE.

Kendeda Building Equity Petal Tour

This is a video-guided in-person tour of the Kendeda building, focused on the Equity Petal of the Living Building Challenge.  While on the tour, students are asked to reflect on a few aspects of equity and inclusion, which they later submit through a Canvas assignment.  The video tour can be accessed here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVNYrABwnmA&feature=youtu.be

This tool was contributed by Jennifer Leavey

Interested in other Kendeda tours?  Check out our Water, Energy, and Materials Tour tool HERE.

Centering Racial Equity

In July 2020, Serve-Learn-Sustain held a virtual panel discussion entitled “Centering Racial Equity in Equitable and Sustainable Development." Panel guests included Nicole Moore, Director of Education at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; Odetta MacLeish-White, Managing Director of the TransFormation Alliance; and Carol Hunter, Executive Director of the Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture, with discussion facilitated by Rebecca Watts Hull, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist with Serve-Learn-Sustain. During the event, the panelists discussed the organizations they are a part of and their work advancing racial equity within the communities they serve.

Society, Equity, and Sustainability

SLS approaches sustainability as an integrated system, linking environment, economy, and society. As an initiative focused on “creating sustainable communities,” we especially emphasize the role that SOCIETY plays in sustainability – and particularly issues of social equity and community voice. You can learn about SLS’ approach to sustainable communities here. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand the SOCIETY part of sustainability. It includes two exercises and resources for learning more.

An Introduction to Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure refers to an interconnected, multifunctional network of greenspace and natural areas that shapes and is shaped by environmental, economic, social, and health outcomes in communities. It may refer to a wide array of natural features, engineered structures, or managed interconnected networks of green space and their associated ecosystem services, including parks, stormwater management features, greenways and trails, green streets, and watershed restoration projects, among other types of green spaces.

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