Spring 2015

Urban Infrastructure Anatomy Instructor
Mikhail Chester

Construction Materials & Methods Instructor
Kristen Parrish

Graduate Student Researcher
Chelsea Mann

Education Evaluation
Kerice Doten-Snitker

Project Overview

In Spring 2015 ASU's Urban Infrastructure Anatomy and Sustainable development and Construction Materials & Methods courses worked across disciplines and undergraduate/graduate programs to develop strategies for neighborhood-scale infrastructure design to protect Phoenix's population from heat. The project was supported by the National Science Foundation's Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program award 1245205.

Project Outcomes

A number of deliverables were produced during the Spring 2015 semester including a report detailing strategies to reduce heat vulnerability in Mesa, Arizona, as well as evaluation and assessment protocols for vertically integrating engineering sustainability curricula.

The final project report "Urban Infrastructure Design and Heat Vulnerability: Rethinking Infrastructure in Mesa, Arizona" and presentation detailing strategies to reduce heat vulnerability is available through ASU's Digital Repository.

Course and assessment documentation included assessment rubrics, Request for Information (RFI) forms, and surveys:

Urban Infrastructure Anatomy Course Overview

Understanding how built environment infrastructure systems interact with ecosystem services is a critical foundational element for future engineers who will drive policies and decisions affecting urban sustainability. Sustainable cities can be defined through development that uses materials and energy within the biosphere's capacity for regeneration and waste assimilation. Most contemporary cities operate outside of these criteria. Resources (including food, energy, water, and goods) are shipped in from global logistical networks that shift burdens away from those who use the resources. And dispensing of wastes becomes ever more challenging as siting new landfills is often prohibitive and our concern for air quality and the climate grows. While our understanding of sustainable transition strategies improves, policy and decision makers continue to support existing practices that sustainable engineers and scientists know cannot continue indefinitely. Historically, engineers have developed infrastructure systems when many sustainability constraints did not exist. This course will provide students with 1) an understanding of the engineering, social, political, community, and economic constraints that affect urban sustainability infrastructure, 2) an enriched educational experience that connects academic principles and theories with practical knowledge, and 3) a vision and desire for developing solutions that transcend the current constraints that engineers face when deploying sustainable infrastructure solutions. The course will focus on Phoenix infrastructure policy and decision making, a city that has expended tremendous resources on growth and water, been largely driven by cheap energy, and with significant access to renewable resources (i.e., solar) and knowledge. By connecting students with regional infrastructure issues, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to understand how fundamental engineering concepts are ultimately applied in sustainable infrastructure decisions, graduate students will be able to test and improve infrastructure sustainability transitional theories and gain insight into governmental processes and jobs that they may ultimately be part of.

Construction Materials & Methods Course Overview

Construction Materials & Methods is an undergraduate construction course focused on vertical construction. Methods, materials, codes, and equipment used in building construction are covered. The course objectives are: a. For students to gain command of the vernacular of building design and construction including terminology, units of measure, standard designations, sizes, graduations, testing methods, reference standards, and regulatory codes; b. For students to understand and be capable of describing the basic processes of designing and constructing a building; c. For students to understand and be capable of discussing the differences between various types of excavations and building foundation systems and components, and those systems most currently in use; d. For students to understand the differences between various types of building framing systems and those systems most currently in use; e. Introduce students to the concept of keeping structures free from water infiltration including roofing, caulking, etc; f. Introduce students to a basic understanding of various mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and vertical transportation; and, g. Learn or improve teamwork and team-building skills through experience.