Funded Projects

Displaying 1 - 20 of 48. Refine search.

2016

Team Members

Stuart Nath, and Daniel Choi

Advisor

Joseph Trumpey

Project Summary

The main goal for this project was to develop an outdoor aquaponics system capable of providing affordable, fresh food to communities in need. Aquaponics is a form of small-scale, sustainable urban agriculture that combines hydroponics (plants grown in water) and aquaculture (fish farming). The project team worked with residents in Southeast Michigan to implement aquaponics systems using outdoor gardens.

The team researched power consumption, production, and insulation capacity, and tailored the project to prepare installing a typical small scale aquaponics system. The project framework was designed to increase success by identifying an outdoor garden capable of surviving the winter. The team’s partner organization, Neighborhood B.U.G., has experience converting abandoned lots into community gardens in specific neighborhoods in Detroit. Aquaponics systems will be located in selected sites with the potential to provide food to people in need, as well as, job and educational opportunities for community members.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Kyle Reynolds, Sai Sivakumar, Ellen Tilford, Garrett Prost, Adam Assink, Alec Distel, Allene McIlwain, Ashley Lee, Brigitte Smith, Charles Anderson, Jessica Borin, Kate Yuhas, Kevin Shen, Larissa Lu, Michael O’Connor, Paolo Romero, Rahul Gupta, Sara Palmerton, Sarah Bohen Shera Shevin

Advisor

Nathan Schell, Steven Skerlos

Project Summary

BLUElab NicarAGUA is a student organization that works with rainwater collection in rural Nicaragua. In the past year, with support from the Distinguished Award seed grant, the team has completed a needs assessment for Jicaral, Nicaragua. The goals of this project are two pronged, and include both engineering and education goals. The engineering goal is to build rainwater catchment, storage, and irrigation systems for various households throughout the community.

The education goal is to educate the residents on the use and repair of these systems, along with general water treatment and sanitation issues. The residents will be able to maintain existing systems, and implement more systems on their own in the future. The team is also developing curriculum resources for local children, focused on improving understanding of water sanitation and sustainability. Residents will be empowered with the knowledge and resources to maintain the systems and communicate to the community why the system is important. These educational efforts will help ensure the sustainable use of the rainwater system.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Austin Martin, Carolina Maestri, Marlena Hanlon, Michael Lin

Advisor

Joseph Trumpey

Project Summary

Crow House is an urban settlement house model, using sustainability education and programming for community and personal development located in Detroit, Michigan. Co-created with the community, Crow House efforts focus on service learning to teach green retrofit and permaculture skills. The result is a perennial teaching site and community center.

This urban settlement model is applicable for other local, national, and global communities. The impact goals of the project include: 1) Restoring a historic home in the Detroit Landscape, 2) Modeling community organization, and becoming a hub for community organizers, 3) Becoming a center of learning uncommon “green” skills, 4) Serving as a community resource of health, organic, sustainable fruit and produce, 5) Functioning as an ecology learning center for all ages, 6) Providing a space to foster self-actualization, 7) Providing a residential sanctuary for urban scholars, and 8) Contributing to an infrastructure solution. This project was a co-winner of the larger 2016 Dow Distinguished Award.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Alexander Truelove, Astrid Santiago, John Andreoni, Lillian Kline, Wyatt Klipa

Partner Organization

Paso Pacifico

Advisor

Ivette Perfecto

Project Summary

The process of silvopasture integrates livestock and forestry, and benefits biodiversity and local farmers. This sustainable farming technique produces cattle more efficiently and supports habitat for biodiversity, alternative food sources for cattle, and income diversification to buffer against economic windfalls and severe drought. In Nicaragua’s Rivas Isthmus, unique biodiversity exists. This team successfully completed fieldwork in the summer of 2016, collecting three types of biodiversity data: a) behavioral studies of birds in isolated trees, b) health characterizations through temperature and weight of existing cattle, and c) interviews with local farmers about land use and tenure.

Moving forward, the team seeks to further analyze this data helps to draw connections between cattle health, farmer attitudes, and the conservation value of the practice of silvopastoralism. Ultimately, this data will be used to help create a decision based tool for project partner Paso Pacifico to use with Nicaraguan farmers and submit policy recommendations to the Nicaraguan government. Project efforts will compliment pastoral productivity conservation efforts, address biodiversity and benefit hardworking farmers of the local community.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Hamidreza Tavafoghi Jahromi, Velma Lopez, and Maryam Arbabzadeh

Advisor

Jose Alfaro

Project Summary

In Liberia, 9 out of 10 Liberians do not have access to electricity, and the lack of basic infrastructure is a significant challenge in addressing this issue. The project team proposed sustainable solutions to electric rates and power reliability at the University of Liberia, and the surrounding communities. The team’s assessment and proposal used a combination of natural resources in Liberia (e.g., solar, biomass, and wind) and diesel fuel to propose a feasible micro-grid. A key factor in implementing a micro-grid is assessing the electrical demand necessary, and the natural resources potential for electricity. Using the results of the assessment, the team proposed goals to address this issue.

The team hypothesized that increased access to electricity will lead to reductions in gender inequality over time. Using a sustainable development framework incorporating the environment, economics, and society, women’s empowerment is a precursor to downstream social impacts, as women play a key role in the betterment of community, household, and child health and well-being. With the predicted changes to women’s empowerment, the team anticipates that expanding the dialogue of renewable energy programs will include important aspects of sustainable development beyond the physical environment.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Anna Bengtson, Kathleen Carroll, Sarah Ladin, Lee Taylor-Penn, and Grace van Velden

Advisor

Dr. Laurie Lachance

Project Summary

Food security is crucial to the health of individuals and their communities. Mississippi is the nation’s least food secure state, with 22 percent of households reporting a lack of access to healthy food. People living in Mississippi’s West Tallahatchie County have experienced an increase in food insecurity since the recession. Project partner, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, is working with partners to increase access to healthy food among the African American community.

A local grocery store in the West Tallahatchie area offers primarily processed and canned foods, and does not offer fresh produce. The project team focused on the ability to achieve food security in this area through long-term, sustainable food systems. Three food system scenarios were proposed and included innovative solutions to this critical issue. Through community engagement, including meetings, interviews and workshops, the team anticipates transitioning the project into the hands of community leaders to implement solutions.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Jeffrey Thiele, Vicky Koski-Karell, Michael Rozier, Jessica Carlile, Dr. Angel Valdez, Kailey Stutzky, Nicholas Gregory

Advisor

Dr. Scott Stonington

Project Summary

During summer 2016 this project team conducted health assessments in four rural Haitian communities with support from their Distinguished Award seed grant. These health assessments sought to ascertain the conditions of several factors that contribute to the sustainability of a community’s wellness such as the health of mothers and their infants, nutritional status of infants, and households’ access to sanitation. Key findings show the need of community education around childbirth and postnatal care, nutrition, and environmental conditions such as latrine location in order to improve community health. Through mapping out communities near the Haiti-DR border, the project team explored and quantified the relationship between proximity to a latrine and child health.

The team is now working with governmental agencies and Haiti-based NGOs and is seeking support for training local community health workers to make regular visits to mothers, infants and children in these communities.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Eric Katz, Katie Matton, Jonathan Luthy, and Mohammad Azimi Non-UM members include Viraj Sikand, Maya Faulstich-Hon, Lunalo Cletus Lunalo, Arjun Paunrana, and Catherine Hebson

Advisor

James Diana

Project Summary

Aquaculture (fish farming) is booming worldwide and has the potential to be the future of protein for humans. However, conventional feed for aquaculture farms is made from wild caught forage fish. These fish are caught using unsustainable practices that destroy marine habitat and harm many fishing communities. Aquaculture production in Kenya is currently at 48,000 metric tons and is expected to increase to 450,000 metric tons by 2030. Thus, the need to propose sustainable solutions to protect Kenya’s rural fishing villages. Also, most aquaculture farmers cannot afford to buy commercial fish food.

Kulisha produces a low-cost, commercial-grade fish feed made from insects. The organization supports economic development by revolutionizing fish feed in Kenya. This effort serves primarily small scale rural farmers. Kulisha is founded on the three targets of addressing a significantly underserved market segment in the aquaculture industry: supporting economic development, supporting growth in emerging markets, and creating environmentally sustainable solutions to food insecurity. With the Dow Distinguished Award Seed grant and additional funding, the students were able to complete a functional prototype facility and build relationships in Kenya for further growth. With additional Distinguished Awards funding, Kulisha will build a full size facility and start the sale of their project in summer 2016. Their first customer is anticipated to be a school for orphans in Meru, Kenya. This project was a co-winner of the larger 2016 Dow Distinguished Award.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Pablo Daniel Taddei Arriola, Iuliana Bleanda-Mogosanu, David Carruthers, Desmond Cole

Affiliated Organizations

Sustainability without Borders (SWB), University of Sonora

Advisor

Jose Alfaro

Project Summary

With seed grant funds, the project team traveled to Tastiota, Mexico, during summer 2016 to look at the feasibility of implementing a small-scale Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) desalination plant to provide communities with potable water. The team also developed and tested a prototype at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The CSP desalination plant technology explored in this project is based on the Central Tower Technology, which is being developed by the University of Sonora. The northwestern region of Mexico in the state of Sonora, Hermosillo County is an ideal location to implement the small-scale CSP desalination plant. Hermosillo County lacks of fresh water availability, but has abundant solar radiation. Implementation of a CSP desalination plant here will alleviate water scarcity pressures in the region and serve as a renewable alternative to current water delivery methods.

After completing the educational prototype, achieving local political and community support, and finalizing a favorable economic analysis, the team is now seeking to build a CSP desalination plant in the community of Tastiota.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Katrina Burns, Matt Halso, Keith Heidecorn, Alkananda Jakkaraju, Patricia Koman, Jake Norton

Advisor

Terese Olson

Project Summary

This project’s goal is to support efforts to increase environmental literacy among Flint residents. Students took a multi-disciplinary approach to build two and three dimensional models to help Flint residents to visualize the complex and dynamic municipal drinking water delivery system. The animation and physical model were used as teaching tools connected to larger efforts focused on educating and engaging residents.

Improved environmental literacy will help ensure active citizen participation in civic discussions, foster healing, and promote actions to develop sustainable water resources. In addition, residents were engaged with active questioning, and given a voice in these tools to share their stories and start the journey towards healing. Local community leaders have a strong desire to create a narrative of the community acting on its own behalf to reduce disparities in human health and protect the environment.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Jared Aslakson, Emily Canosa, Jacob Grochowski, Isabella Herold, Lauren Hoff, Hayley Kerner, Christine Rickard, Kate Samra, Alexandra Weber

Advisor

Raymond De Young

Project Summary

The project team facilitated an environmental education workshop series to increase the flow of information about sustainable food systems between Washtenaw County community groups and faculty, staff and students at the University of Michigan (U-M). The U-M community has considerable experience about local food systems and is interested in a wider distribution of knowledge about this issue.

The series of workshops focused on action strategies to support long-term behavior change, as well as increasing knowledge of local food systems, and actionable steps towards increasing the sustainability of these systems. U-M Sustainable Food Program faculty, students and staff facilitated the development of workshops, and conduced participant surveys. The project team expects that by strengthening the local food systems, more positive economic, environmental, and equity changes will occur at U-M and throughout Washtenaw County.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Jamie McArdle, Jianing Wang, Yue Chen, Yun Liu

Advisor

Mark Lindquist

Project Summary

The project team developed a model trail and interpretive system for the newest preserve in the National Park System. This system enhances visitor experience and increases public awareness. The team showcased sustainable development concepts and increased awareness of individual behavior and environmental impact. The project integrates technology, while expanding interpretive programming and user interface throughout Valles Caldera National Preserve, in northern New Mexico. Valles Caldera comprises an area of nearly 90,000 acres, and is an ideal location for the implementation of a sustainable trail and interpretive system.

Members of the team used innovative technology to incorporate a mobile app, a user touch interface and other features designed to enhance engagement in environmental education. In collaboration with Valles Caldera National Preserve leaders, the framework for this preserve will serve as a model for implementation throughout the National Park System.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Christina Reynolds, Michael Lipowicz, Anna Harrison, Brad Smith

Advisor

Christian Lastoskie

Project Summary

The Carbon Connection Program is a carbon education program designated to enhance public understanding of how daily activities influence carbon emissions. The average person has little exposure to sustainable living practices in their daily lives. To address this issue, this team developed a targeted carbon dioxide (CO2) education program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Two interactive educational boards were prototyped at the Ann Arbor Hands On-Museum.

The program focused on teaching people about their personal role in climate change and carbon emissions by collocating emissions data directly beside the services and infrastructures (e.g., buildings, transportation, food) with which people live and work. The visualization of carbon emissions from food production, electricity/gas usage, and transportation allowed individuals to better understand how changes in habits can reduce their carbon footprint. Specific targets for project were reducing building, transportation, and food emissions while increasing climate change understanding. Participants were encouraged to reach a goal of reducing personal carbon emissions by 2%. The project team anticipates that this project and the Carbon Connection Program will have a direct impact on the culture of sustainability by through innovative teaching methods.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Salam Rida, Olivia Howard, Ryan Goold, Naheim Rida, Michael Medina, Josefina Banales
Community Collaborator: Grace Lee Boggs School

Advisor

Mick Kennedy

Project Summary

The Dreamscape Project is a collaborative initiative between the James and Grace Lee Boggs School, its neighborhood, and students from the University of Michigan. These students work with the Boggs School and its community to foster engagement in the built environment for elementary students in Detroit through design and fabrication.

Through the Dow Distinguished seed grant, the team held a competition to have U-M students design a fence, traditional a community divider, into an interactive, community engagement and education piece. Winning designs included a “pixel board” as a colorful visual community communication piece, a “xylo fence” musical engagement piece, “hide and seek” pop-up shelter, and a “lenticular mural”. The winning U-M designers will work with the Boggs School students and implementation teams to install in fall 2016.

Project Overview

 

2015

Team Members

Elana Rosenthal, Matthew Chapman, Asher Feigenbaum

Adviser

Professor Andrew Jones

Project Summary

Our long-term goal is to develop and build first level community-based healthcare facilities modeled after our successes to date with our clinic model in Duchity. This prototype Public Healthcare Facility (PHC) facility will be scalable, economically beneficial, reduce morbidity, and provide critically needed healthcare needs to the most vulnerable population of Haiti. Our proposal includes novel solutions utilizing solar power, and telemedicine with information technology.

The strategy is early effective medical intervention by screening, diagnosing and treating diseases utilizing medically accepted standardized techniques. The roles of the PHC includes: comprehensive early detection screening, diagnosis, laboratory tests, vaccinations, distribution of medications, basic emergency care, create a data collection base for continual monitoring of follow up care and for epidemiological analysis to predict epidemics in their early stages, continuing education/ training to empower and motivate healthcare workers and patients.

This prototype facility can be replicated with an interconnected data base with other PHC’s in remote communities hundreds of miles apart or many hours away due to bad road conditions.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Sneha Rao, Michelle Hindman, Olivia Lu-Hill, Sean Murphy, Yash Shah, Zeqi Zhu

Adviser

Vikramaditya Khanna

Project Summary

Indian megacities face several unique challenges in providing even basic needs and services, notably housing, water, and waste management, for one of the largest and most dense populations in the world. Government campaigns launched in the past year, “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” (Clean India Mission) and “Housing For All by 2022” represent a nationwide call to action for a cleaner, healthier, and safer India.

Achieving these ambitions are complicated in an urban environment where core problems are magnified in scale and particularly daunting in Mumbai, where half of the city’s population is estimated to live in slums. Future slum redevelopment projects present an opportunity to learn from past policies, especially now as cities prepare citywide plans for executing the clarion call of “housing for all”.

Our aim for this project is to create a resource of knowledge for policy makers, developers, and architects involved in upgrading low-income informal housing and to develop a streamlined process that would benefit all involved parties, including slum dwellers and government agencies. Our research analyses of the Mumbai Model for slum redevelopment and of the existing implementation tools and practices, have given us insight into how the current approach can be improved upon.

Project Overview

 

Team members

Pavel Azgaldov, Shamitha Keerthi, Brian Wang, Adithya Dahagama, Hassan Bukhari, Rachel Jaffe, Samhita Shiledar, Stacy Pancratz

Adviser

Peter Adriens

Project Summary

Rural households in semi-arid Telangana, India have been farming the same lands for generations. It is imperative for farmers to focus on risk management under resource constrained conditions and uncertain times. Our project proposes to harness the power of data to inform both risk management and local best management practices for small landholding farmers in India. The scope of this project includes data collection from individual farmers in the State of Telangana, India, to determine nutrient management practices. Using data science, we seek to tease out relationships between productivity, nutrient management and exogenous factors for rural villages in this region. The overarching objective of the project is to design and establish a framework to collect and analyse spatial and temporal high resolution farming data on a regional or national scale to subsequently leverage big data science to inform nutrient management practices among small farmers.

Project Overview

 

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Jose Alfaro (Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources)

Faculty Co-advisor

Dr. Steven Wright (Professor, School of Engineering)

Team Members

Whitney Johnson (MS, School of Natural Resources, team point of contact); Sibu Kuruvilla (Ph.D., School of Engineering, 2nd point of contact); Rashmi Krishnan (MS, School of Natural Resources); Zu Dienle Tan (MS, School of Natural Resources); Nicholas Jansen (BA, College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Program in the Environment)

Partner organizations

Sustainability Without Borders, Rural Intercultural Student Exchange (RISE, Beijing)

Project Summary

High levels of arsenic in the groundwater in China are a major public health concern. In addition to a fairly widespread volume of naturally occurring arsenic-contaminated well-water across China, a significant amount of arsenic is contributed by anthropogenic actions like rapid industrialization, weak environmental policies and poor planning. Cases of chronic arsenicosis have been found in eight provinces in mainland China, including Shanxi. Biosand Filters (BSF) are low-cost, low maintenance, point-of-use filters that are built out of locally available materials. The Arsenic Biosand Filter (ABSF) is a version of the BSF that is designed to remove arsenic and pathogens present in the groundwater. At the University of Michigan, we built a prototype of an ABSF design with the intent of replicating the contamination and filtration scenario in Shanxi, testing our filter and further optimizing our design. At Pingyao - Shanxi, we worked with our student partner organization, the Rural Inter-cultural Student Exchange (RISE) group from Tsinghua University and a student group from the Taiyuan University of Technology to implement another design variant of the ABSF in a village. We successfully built 43 ABSFs in individual households, and initial performance tests showed that the ABSFs were able to remove up to 87% of arsenic, relative to the arsenic content of the inflowing water, while minimizing the turbidity of the water. Ongoing and future work entails the periodic testing of the filters’ performance to ensure arsenic removal is stable and continuously available. Further, we are interested in creating a dynamic flow setup to reduce labor intensity of using the ABSF and further automate the system. Additionally, we are currently researching the extent of arsenic contamination in other communities to explore regions we can expand our work to.

Project Overview

 

Team members

Joshua Shake, Stephanie Gerretsen, Alexandra Markiewicz, Kelly Richardson, Mabel Kessler, Julia Mantey, Samantha Farr, Ali Aayat

Adviser

Ana Paula Pimentel-Walker, Michaela Zint

Project Summary

Santa Marta is located in São Leopoldo, a city approximately 30 kilometers north of Porto Alegre, Brazil. São Leopoldo has a conglomeration of informal and formal settlements, which include regularized neighborhoods and public housing projects. Santa Marta faces a host of environmental challenges that result from trash dumping in public spaces, trash burning, animals opening trash bags, and inadequate sewage, water systems, and road infrastructure. These issues stem from systemic inequalities within the governmental structure that provides waste management and infrastructure resources, as well as the lack of public participation in the participatory budget process.

This progress report highlights a number of different recommendations and initiatives we hope to implement in the local community.

  1. Deterring dumping
  2. Increasing communication and dialogue between the São Leopoldo Municipality and Santa Marta residents
  3. Building community pride and visibility
  4. Improving security
  5. Controlling flooding
  6. Developing strategies for requesting service upgrades and regularization of Santa Marta’s streets, sewage, and infrastructure

These initiatives will encompass and improve environmental stewardship and communication between the local government and the community at large, activate public spaces, upgrade infrastructure, and create a greater sense of community pride and community ownership. The success of our project depends directly on meeting the needs of our community partners and better understanding the interactions between the municipality and the community.

Project Overview

 

Team Members

Spencer Harbo, Adam Nault

Partner

Victoria Bellotti

Adviser

Raymond De Young

Project Summary

Overconsumption of the Earth’s natural resources is causing widespread environmental degradation and anthropogenic climate change. Future environmental sustainability may be fundamentally dependent on our ability to reduce current levels of consumption. One way to implement this much-needed societal change is by motivating individual and community participation in place-based resource sharing.

The success of place-based resource sharing may be dependent on our understanding of the needs of communities, including what motivates individuals to share resources, as well as the barriers to engaging in sharing. Currently, our team is coordinating a project through the Dow Master’s Fellowship to answer these questions within the context of Southeastern Michigan. Through interviews with leaders of sharing organizations and a survey of community members in four comparison communities, this ongoing project aims to capture motivations for sharing in order to help improve local sharing economies through a well-informed social marketing and urban design strategy.

The proposed project will build off of our ongoing work in two distinct ways: 1) in collaboration with the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), we will develop a cross-sectional qualitative assessment to better understand motivations for participating in local sharing economies among communities in the United States and abroad; and 2) we will provide consultation and support to computer-human interaction designers at PARC, Penn State University, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and leaders in the hOurworld timebanking network to improve the predictive functionality of a ‘smart’ mobile TimeBanking application currently under development, which will draw on our motivational interview findings to match community members with one another and encourage the sharing of resources and services.

Project Overview

 

Pages

Find Funded Projects