Summer Public Interest Design fellows tackle storm water management, housing density and clean energy

Small Center fellows constructing a solar bench.

maryjohns

Aug 11, 2017

Photo: Small Center fellows and members of Groundwork New Orleans’ Green Team construct a solar bench prototype.

This summer, six Tulane School of Architecture students – Ana Sandoval Aguilar (TSA ’19), Kekeli Dawes (TSA ’18), Carolyn Isaacson (TSA ’18), Christie Melgar (TSA ’18), Ryan Shabaan (TSA ’20), and Kelsey Willis (TSA ’19) – engaged in an 8-week Public Interest Design Fellowship with the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design. The fellowship challenges students to hone their design skills while helping to advance real projects alongside leaders from organizations addressing the needs of New Orleans residents.

Fellows completed three projects in partnership with local community-based organizations.

Storm Water Management: Community-Based Planning and Design

Ripple Effect, an organization committed to improving water literacy, teamed up with the fellows in researching New Orleans storm water management systems and community engagement practices. Through a critique of present community engagement practices, case study research, visits to infrastructure and project sites, and meetings with stakeholders, the fellows built a base of knowledge to develop design proposals and case studies. Led by the co-director of Ripple Effect, Aron Chang, the team created an interactive storm water management game as a tool that can be replicated for similar issues across the city.

Groundwork New Orleans Solar-Charging Bench

Led by Small Center’s Interim Director, Emilie Taylor Welty, Small Center collaborated with Groundwork New Orleans’ Green Team members to design and build their first solar bench. Groundwork New Orleans was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency grant to construct three prototypical solar bench demonstration projects to help communities build resiliency through clean energy. The benches will provide an energy source for public transportation users to charge their phones, educate community members about clean energy, and provide power in case of emergency.

Healthy Tremé Housing Research

Fellows, led by Small Center’s Project Manager, Nick Jenisch, worked with the Greater Tremé Consortium, Inc. to identify health-related issues facing the community using physical mapping, regulatory research and neighborhood surveys. The project’s resulting playbook will serve neighborhood leaders as they advocate for change and serve as a model for neighborhood analysis across New Orleans and beyond.

The 2017 Summer Public Interest Design fellowship is made possible through the generous support of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Morris Adjmi and the Sizeler family.

In this upcoming school year, faculty and students at Small Center will work on collaborative design projects with Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, New Orleans City Park, and Mamou Fruit & Tea. Learn more about Small Center and recent projects at small.tulane.edu.

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