Project Overview

In Spring 2018 ASU's Urban Infrastructure Anatomy and Sustainable Development course assessed options for sustainable and resilient infrastructure in South Mountain Village, a neighborhood in South Phoenix targeted for redevelopment as part of the Rio Salado Project.

Project Outcomes

Students split into four teams (transportation, land use, water, and energy) and each team produced an overview study of opportunities for redeveloping infrastructure in South Mountain Village with a focus on sustainability and resilience.

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.