This paper seeks to contribute to the practice and application of urban research as it applies to homelessness through the creation of educational curriculum that can both increase awareness of the problem in the student community and allow that community to have a real and beneficial impact on developing solutions to homelessness. The focus of the article is the design and delivery of an affordable housing project as part of the first year engineering design curriculum for seven hundred and fifty entry-level engineering students for the 2008/2009 academic year. The goals of the project were threefold: to make students aware of our city’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, to introduce a workshop on the root causes of homelessness, and to design sustainable, inclusive, affordable housing. The work represents the combined efforts of a second year biomedical engineering student, engineering instructors, homelessness agencies and members of the community. The project involved a hands-on design challenge for all first-year engineering students to address the issue of affordable housing. Twenty four teams of 28 students (over 700 students in total) took six weeks to design affordable housing that had the following requirements: modular, structurally sound, sustainable, cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, functional, meet client needs, and have community input. The 28-member student teams were subdivided into 4-person groups. Each group covered one of the following aspects: project management, urban planning, sustainability, interior design, building, costing, and architecture. The end result, in addition to a considerable improvement of the social awareness of the students, was a public showing of models, prototypes, and proofs of concept for a wide range of solutions for affordable housing. Several of the concepts were taken away by members of the audience (city planners, social agencies, etc) for further consideration.
|Keywords:||Engineering Design, Affordable Housing, Homelessness, Prototyping, Teamwork|
Senior Instructor, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Student, University of Calgary, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Instructor, Schulich School of Engineering, Calgary, Canada
Senior Instructor, Schulich School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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