In-Class Exercise

Atlanta Map Room: Rethinking the Way Data Represents the Places We Live

The goal of the Map Room project is to develop local spaces for grassroots map-making, where people can creatively and collaboratively explore data. Conventional digital maps help people see rapid, large-scale social and environmental changes as they unfold. But often these maps are based on abstract data alone and are disconnected from the lived experiences of their audiences. The Map Room project aims to empower people to understand, but also challenge and even redefine, the stories that maps and data tell about their lives and about the places they live. In this tool, students will visit a Map Room on campus to make their own maps and to reflect on the potentials and pitfalls of map-making in a contemporary civic context.

 

This tool was contributed by Yanni Loukissas (yanni.loukissas@lmc.gatech.edu), in collaboration with artist Jer Thorp.

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.

SLS Case Study: The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design

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. 

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. 

Exploring Asset-Based Community Development: The Parkway Community

The Parkway Community ABCD Exercise invites students to engage in an exercise to explore what it means to take an asset-based approach to community development (“an ABCD” approach), versus a “needs” or “deficit” approach. Students are broken into groups and given a description of the Parkway Community. One group is given a list of assets while another group is given a list of needs. Students come up with recommendations for a nonprofit to engage with the community and then compare and contrast the recommendations. The exercise concludes with an explanation of ABCD principles.  

Introduction to SLS & Sustainable Communities

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.

Environmental Justice and the UN SDGs: A WAWA Case Study

The purpose of this tool is to introduce students to the work of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) and the history of the Proctor Creek watershed, and to situate this work within the context of two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 10, Reduced Inequalities. Students will first explore the interactive WAWA StoryMap, which describes the history of environmental racism that led to the pollution of the Proctor Creek watershed and the work of WAWA and the local community in restoring the area. If more background is needed on the concepts of environmental justice and environmental racism, the use of this tool can be prefaced by using part or all of the SLS Environmental Justice 101 tool.

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.

Sustainable Cities and Communities: SDG 11

This tool will take a closer look at the 11th UN Sustainable Development Goal, Sustainable Cities and Communities, which aims to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” Students will then use the elements that comprise progress towards the goal as a way to frame their reading of 3 large infrastructure projects, including the Los Angeles River Revitalization, the Cultural Trail, and the 5280 Trail, followed by two options for activities evaluating one or more of these projects according to the 10 Sustainable Cities and Communities Targets.

This tool was contributed by Bonnie Lapwood.

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