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School of Sustainability Graduate Culminating Experiences


Student capstone and applied projects from ASU's School of Sustainability.


Date Range
2015 2020


Multi-scalar, integrated and transformational solutions are necessary to address the complex problems of climate change and sustainable development. Cities are using urban living labs to develop and test such solutions; however, the pace of transformation does not yet match the urgency of the problems at hand. In business, accelerators are used to advance new and potentially transformational enterprises, giving fresh ideas an advantage over more established competition, thereby accelerating the pace of change. This article examines the accelerator model and considers its adaptation to urban living labs. From the literature, a multi-scalar business accelerator model is proposed that addresses both …

Contributors
Mack, Ashley, Whithycombe Keeler, Lauren, Wiek, Arnim, et al.
Created Date
2019-04-24

Abstract A Case for Co-Ops (AC4CO) is a digital media outreach project that is intended to explore methods for increasing the impact of sustainability solutions, by helping to translate research implications into practical approaches for sustainable business design. The goal for this project is to increase public awareness regarding latent sustainability benefits offered by the proliferation of worker-owned social enterprises. In effort to achieve this goal, AC4CO pulls together a collection of information and resources regarding the design of worker-owned business models that implement social and environmental safeguards. This collated outreach material is hosted on a dedicated website, which decentralizes …

Contributors
Darr, Charles
Created Date
2020-05-13

This paper recounts a project journey that was taken to explore how replacing plastics with less harmful materials can drive positive environmental impact. The project examined the scope and impacts of plastic pollution attributable to healthcare delivery and the adverse impacts it has on population health. Identifying potential options to replace plastics was accomplished by obtaining access to one of the world’s leading materials databases. This access enabled identification of several alternative materials with documented uses as plastic replacements. Evidence of successes that have been achieved in replacing plastics with less harmful materials was gathered by conducting interviews with international …

Contributors
O'Brien, Patrick
Created Date
2019-12-03

The City of Phoenix is interested in bringing a plastic processing facility to the Phoenix metro area. A facility could potentially to increase the diversion rates of recyclables, allow for more efficient use of locally reclaimed material and bring new jobs to the Phoenix metropolitan economy. Contrary to the classic “put it in the bin, we’ll take care of it” attitude presented by large recyclers such as Waste Management and Republic Services, recycling economics are complex; often both a beacon of technological advancement and a lagger with regard to spot-market capabilities. Based on interviews with elite stakeholders and industry research, …

Contributors
Punnett, Garr
Created Date
2018

Arizona and the Phoenix metropolitan area are experiencing a housing crisis, both in terms of affordability and supply. While the number of affordable and available units has been shrinking, a separate trend has emerged that is also adding pressure to the housing market, particularly for renters—a demand for transit-oriented, walkable, sustainable communities. As governments invest in projects and infrastructure falsely branded as sustainable, environmental gentrification often occurs resulting in displacement of current residents. Without new, moderately priced housing being built, displaced residents remain housing cost burdened. Workforce housing, priced to serve lower-middle to middle-income residents, offers a release from the …

Contributors
Van Horn, Elizabeth
Created Date
2020-05-26

In Senegal, West Africa, soils are a vital resource for livelihoods and food security in smallholder farming communities. Low nitrogen (N) soils pose obvious challenges for crop production but may also, counterintuitively, promote the abundance of agricultural pests like the Senegalese locust, Oedaleus senegalensis. In this study I investigated how the abundance of locusts and grasshoppers are impacted by soil fertility through plant nutrients and how these variables change across land use types. We worked in two rural farming villages in the Kaffrine region of Senegal. Overall, there was little variation in soil properties and an agricultural landscape low in …

Contributors
Word, Mira, Hall, Sharon, Robinson, Brian, et al.
Created Date
2018-04-10

The current global food system is not designed to support local populations. It is a complex network of technologies and behaviors that optimize production and distribution, but simultaneously interact to result in many of the sustainability challenges that we face today, particularly when it comes to food insecurity within communities and the resulting health dynamics. Current frameworks intended to guide outside entities working with communities in Maricopa County are generally insufficient to empower these communities to sustainably develop and manage their own local food systems. Many protocols are designed for effective interventions, but community organizers often lack effective pre-community engagement …

Contributors
Tibbetts, Jason
Created Date
2019-05-15

The original intent of the project was to attempt to mitigate the complex sustainability issue of systematic food waste via creating a guide that would educate users how to create a food saving organization that prevents edible food from ending up in landfills. The guide was going to be based on a nonprofit organization my family and I founded called Epic Cure, that has activated programs that serve to relieve community food insecurity, encourage community connectedness, support environmental health, and empower youth with entrepreneurial opportunity. The development of the guide was going to be based on my personal experience developing …

Contributors
Layton, Hanna
Created Date
2020-05-13

This report describes the process by which I created a concise but comprehensive online source of information about best practices in sustainability for urban planners. The goal of the project was to provide accessible information that would help planners in ways that help them comprehend and implement sustainable solutions to common planning problems that are found throughout the United States. To create the website, I researched methods for communicating clearly to planners, took a graduate course in communicating about sustainability, and drew on information that I had compiled on sustainable solutions for transportation, economy, water, green space, and governance.

Contributors
Nassar, Cara, Pijawka, David, Kyle, Kathryn
Created Date
2017-12-01

Institutional factors are rarely examined in disaster risks in the Himalayan region, as much of the focus so far has been on improving the scientific understanding of the natural hazards and risks. This is particularly true for glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), which are natural hazards endemic to high mountain ranges such as the Andes, Alps, and Himalayas. While these have put mountain communities at risk for centuries, vulnerability is viewed to be increasing due to climate change. While the science behind the causes and characteristics of these hazards is now better understood, there is an absence of research understanding …

Contributors
Thompson, Ian, Shrestha, Milan, Chhetri, Netra, et al.
Created Date
2019-04-26