The Detroit SUN Project: SUN = Sustainable Urban Neighborhood (2011)
This project serves as a pilot project to be used as a model for other low-income urban areas. This project focuses on educating residents of a low-income urban community about urban environmental issues while promoting positive behavior changes. The purpose of this project is four-fold: 1) to identify environmental education knowledge gaps in a low-income area of Detroit, 2) to provide residents with local resources that promote positive behavioral changes in order to meet their environmental needs, 3) to increase awareness about resource use in order to conserve energy and reduce utility costs, and 4) to put residents in contact with services and programs that can help meet environmental needs. A series of workshops, led in partnership with several local organizations, were conducted in the focus neighborhood. A home was rented in the neighborhood to serve as a venue for the workshop series and as a demonstration house for home energy and water efficiency techniques. Surveys were administered to workshop participants in order to assess knowledge of selected environmental topics. The topics included recycling and illegal dumping, water use efficiency and responsibility, home weatherization, local food and human health concerns, and storm water management. An environmental education booklet was created based on workshop content and distributed to community residents in order to promote the concept of sustainability and serve as a lasting resource within the neighborhood. Our project history, the planning process and implementation of the workshop series, and interacting with residents of our target area inform our recommendations for future urban environmental education programs and policies directed at urban sustainability in low-income areas.
Karyn Boldys, MUP/MS Sustainable Systems
Lauren Cooper, MS Environmental Policy
Michela Gentile, MS Sustainable Systems
Melinda Morang, MUP/MS Sustainable Systems
Elizabeth Senecal, MS Sustainable Systems