URP 581-002

URP 581-002– Planning Practicum

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Course Details

Course No.: 22245

Department: Urban and Regional Planning

Semester: 2018 Spring

Location: Hayes Hall – 202

Meeting Day(s): Tuesday-Thursday

Meeting Time: 1:00 PM - 5:40 PM

Faculty: Hamstead

Food, energy and health systems are interwoven in ways that have direct impact on human well being and community resilience. Interdependencies across these systems imply that people who are resource-constrained make tradeoffs between nutritional food and adequate energy. The Project Rainfall Community Solar project is an integrated community-engaged design and planning process located in the Northland Beltline Corridor, and at the heart of the food-energy-health nexus. A food system social enterprise, Project Rainfall will provide access to healthy food and employment opportunities through an indoor hydro- and aquaponics system, a year-round farmer’s market and business incubator. Aspirations to produce fish – an important source of protein – on the project site have been limited by high energy cost. This food-energy-health tradeoff is reflected in the broader neighborhood, where 31% of residents live below the federal poverty line and experience disproportionately high rates of chronic disease and premature death. The community solar project is envisioned as a way to promote economic stability while sustaining community resilience to climate change.

Through the urban ecology studio, students will engage with Population Health Collaborative of WNY, the WNY Environmental Alliance, Erie County Public Works and other partners to facilitate three community workshops that will lay the groundwork for community solar planning on the Project Rainfall site and in the broader Northland Beltline neighborhood. Activities will involve developing land use, site-level and programmatic designs for solar projects that integrate energy and green infrastructure with public access. Students will learn to apply concepts of sustainability, resilience and regenerative urbanism to a practical planning problem while gaining experience in collaborative neighborhood-level planning processes.