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.
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; OdettaMacLeish-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.
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.
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.
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.
Community health is the state of wellbeing of a group of individuals who share common attitudes, beliefs, interests, histories, and/or goals. Use this tool to explore what it means to optimize the health and quality of life of community members in a socially just and holistic way. Students will learn the many factors that contribute to the health of individuals and communities, as well as the people and resources that influence the health of a community. The discussion questions will aid students in breaking down the complexities of community health, as well as understanding their role in contributing to potential solutions. The optional workshop adds an experiential learning dimension to these discussions and activities.
The Edwards Aquifer is an artesian aquifer that supplies nearly all of the water in San Antonio, Texas. In this case study, read about the persistent conflict over limited water resources from the Edwards Aquifer. Learn about the process by which this entrenched water conflict was sustainably resolved, for both human users and the ecosystem as a whole.
Some of the major challenges in teaching about economic inequality and mobility are a) understanding the differences between income and wealth, as well as other types of economic resources; b) encouraging students to be empathetic to those who have a different economic standing than their own; c) the connections between income and wealth in producing economic mobility; and d) understanding how the income and wealth distributions across different countries shape opportunity for mobility in a comparative context. The purpose of this tool is to help students begin to understand:
The primary differences in income and wealth, and how they relate to economic mobility;
How your place in the economic system can affect opportunities for economic mobility;
How variation in the income and wealth distributions of different countries can affect opportunities for economic mobility.
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.