Team Members: Michael Amidon, Ashish Bhandari, Olaia Chivite Amigo, Laura Devine, Kayla Hunter, Jiayang Li, Erika Linenfelser, Bruna De Souza Oewel, Yao Tang
Advisor: Dr. María Arquero de Alarcón & Dr. Ana Paula Pimentel Walker
Project Summary: The Ocupação Anchieta Avança! project addresses patterns of rapid informal urbanization of areas of environmental protection in cities’ peripheries in response to a lack of affordable housing options for the poor, a phenomenon emerging as one of the Global South’s most pressing issues. Through a site-specific case, and in collaboration with a robust network of local partners, this project proposes new sustainable strategies of land stewardship to address the detrimental impacts informal settlements impose upon areas of environmental value in the urban periphery of São Paulo, Brazil. The team developed plans for a new cultural center and is in the process of developing and implementing sustainable housing prototypes and raising further awareness of the team’s efforts through the creation of a website and blog.
Seed Grant and Large Grant Award
Team Members: Shivani Kamodia, Annabel Weiner Advisor: Dr. Zach Landis-Lewis
Project Summary: The goal of this project is to provide recommendations to help dental clinics transform patient care and achieve sustainability through cultural, operational, and infrastructural changes while stewarding our environment. The primary milestone is a website, where dental professionals can access our recommendations and resources for improvement in the sustainability of their clinic. The website is divided into four domains: organizational development, waste reduction, and prevention, environmentally preferred purchasing and the built environment. The largest achievements so far have been the creation of the website and the initiation of a glove recycling program at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Future tasks involve continuing to monitor the glove recycling program and increasing dental clinic participation in the website’s recommendations and developing sustainability “scores” for these clinics.
Seed Grant and Large Grant Award
A Dow Sustainability Fellows team presented to the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) the financial, social, and environmental merits of offering subsidized ride-hail services to residents in areas that cannot be efficiently covered by buses. The team proposed a subsidized ride-hail service, FlexBus. While the research, design, and analysis of this report were conducted specifically for the AAATA, the team expects the information and insight will be broadly applicable to any transit agency considering on-demand ride-hailing.
Keywords: Ride sharing, hailing, transportation, subsidized
This project set out to understand key barriers to expanding compost programs in Ann Arbor, and to identify best practices to support the city in expanding these programs most effectively.
Ann Arbor’s composting facility, operated by WeCare Organics, has the capacity to expand composting to all current residents and businesses. However, if service were to be expanded to all households, the current mechanism for financing city composting programs is not sustainable. Under its current millage system, the city’s financing structure for composting does not facilitate opportunities for increased revenues. Additionally, low land ll tipping fees, challenges with the city Material Recovery Facility (MRF), and funding restrictions have further hindered the expansion of services.
Keywords: Composing, waste management, solid waste system, zero waste
Oroeco, a website and application-based service that allows users to track the climate impacts of their everyday decisions, recently launched a beta version of a new, interactive social platform that features sustainability ratings of individual publicly-traded companies. The Dow Sustainability Fellows team worked with Oroeco to develop a go-to-market strategy and improve the beta version of the platform. The goal of the platform is to promote sustainable corporate practices and to unlock more informed decision- making by mobilizing the interests of a range of stakeholders, including consumers, investors, and experts (including scholars and non-governmental organizations).
Keywords: Information management, carbon footprint, behavior, decision-making, climate impact assessment
Like many post-industrial cities, Detroit has an outdated and overburdened combined sewer system. In a combined sewer system, heavy rains overwhelm the city’s water treatment system, resulting in increased flooding and discharges of both sewage and stormwater into local rivers. In order to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSO), stormwater must enter the sewer system at a slower and steadier pace without high peaks caused by heavy rain events. In addition, Detroit has vast amounts of impervious surface, much of which is abandoned or underused, further contributing to stormwater runoff concerns.
Our project, in collaboration with Michigan Community Resources (MCR) and Eastside Community Network (ECN), explores whether a collective, place-based approach to green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) installations can result in joint stormwater credits towards fees in residential neighborhoods.
Keywords: Urban infrastructure, combined sewer system, flooding, sewage, stormwater, green infrastructure
Soy production has led to deforestation in multiple regions of Brazil, including the states of Mato Grosso and Pará. A combination of laws, such as the Forest Code (1965), and voluntary agreements, such as the Soy Moratorium (2006), have been implemented to slow the rate of deforestation due to soy production in the Amazon. Although the overall deforestation rate has declined in Brazil from 2004 to 2013, it has increased along the BR-163 highway, also known as the “Soy Corridor.”
Keywords: agro-industrialization, soy, deforestation, Brazil, Mato Grosso and Para region, rainforest
Urban, poverty-stricken, and disinvested communities are struggling to reliably and affordably secure the energy services they need. At the same time, the moral and economic case for distributed renewable energy technologies promises transformative change for how electricity is created and consumed. Soulardarity, a grassroots community organization centered in Highland Park, Michigan, is working to make this vision of energy democracy a reality. The Dow Sustainability Fellowship team partnered with Soulardarity to assess the feasibility of installing a community-owned and operated solar project in Highland Park.
Keywords: Solar energy, community, community power purchase agreement, solar co-op
Our Dow Sustainability Fellowship Program team (the Dow team) partnered with the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) to investigate drinking water quality and affordability issues at the community level to better inform statewide efforts to empower citizens and address water access concerns. The locality of focus, Benton Harbor, Michigan, shares similarities to Flint, Michigan – a city thrust into the spotlight when lead contamination was discovered in its drinking water. Benton Harbor, like Flint, has experienced an economic depression, a strained city governance, and aging infrastructure.
Keywords: water, infrastructure, Michigan Environmental Council, City Planning