Discussion

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.

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.

"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.

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. 

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.

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.

SLS Case Study: The 11th Street Bridge Park and Community Engagement in Green Infrastructure Planning

In this case study, read about the 11th Street Bridge Park and its planning process, and learn about how community engagement in green infrastructure planning can help address equitable development concerns such as such as housing affordability, workforce development, small business development, and community culture. The 11th Street Bridge Park is a planned elevated green infrastructure amenity that is being developed on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge in Washington, D.C.. The project is a unique example of green infrastructure in that its planning process has evolved to focus on how the park can support more equitable development in surrounding neighborhoods. Community engagement and leadership are important components shaping the park’s environmental, economic, and social outcomes. Serve-Learn-Sustain interprets sustainable communities as integrated systems, wherein nature, technology and society all inform each other.

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