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The Impact of Campus Outdoor Spaces on Student Happiness: A Case Study of the ASU Tempe Campus

Description

College and university campuses can play an important role in a student’s life, and campus outdoor spaces have the ability to positively impact various aspects of student health and well-being. It has long been understood that natural environments can promote

College and university campuses can play an important role in a student’s life, and campus outdoor spaces have the ability to positively impact various aspects of student health and well-being. It has long been understood that natural environments can promote health and well being, and in recent years research has begun to examine the impact of parks and landscapes in urban settings on subjective well-being (SWB). Subjective well-being (aka “happiness”) refers to
one’s self-reported measure of well-being and is thought of as having a high level of positive affect, low level of negative affect, and high degree of life satisfaction (Diener, 1984).

This study was conducted to assess the interrelationships between affective experiences, SWB, and usage of campus outdoor spaces in order to learn how outdoor spaces on the Arizona State University (ASU) Tempe campus can be enhanced to increase SWB and usage. In total, 832 students completed a survey questionnaire 1,140 times for six campus outdoor spaces. The results showed that students experience the greatest amount of happiness in the Secret Garden
and James Turrell ASU Skyspace, relaxation/restoration is the affective experience most strongly related to SWB, and SWB is negatively correlated with frequency of visits but positively link with duration of visits. To improve student happiness and usage of outdoor spaces on campuses, planners and designers should work on increasing the relaxing/restorative qualities of existing
locations, creating new spaces for relaxation/restoration around campus, reducing the perception of crowding and noise in large spaces, increasing fun/excitement by adding stimuli and/or opportunities for activity and entertainment, and adding equipment necessary for students to perform the activities they want. In addition to the ASU Tempe campus, the methodology and
findings of this research could be used to improve outdoor spaces on other college and university campuses and other types of outdoor environments.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Living in Place: Using Public Participation to Foster Meaningful Connections

Description

Public participation is lauded as a keystone of sustainability policy and community development. Sustainability issues span all sectors of society and are best addressed at the local level, which makes community involvement and participation necessary for building local sustainability strategies.

Public participation is lauded as a keystone of sustainability policy and community development. Sustainability issues span all sectors of society and are best addressed at the local level, which makes community involvement and participation necessary for building local sustainability strategies. But do public participation events actually foster meaningful connections among those who attend? How can we as sustainability experts empower communities to share their knowledge about the place where they live? This project starts by considering at gaps in public participation processes that prevent members of a community from building a sense of trust. Major gaps identified in the public participation process include a lack of attention to underlying power dynamics, unaddressed social tensions, and a lack of focus on the co-creation of knowledge. These gaps lead to a lack of trust between facilitators and participants, and prevents participants from feeling invested in the process and forming meaningful connections with their fellow participants. Based on the gaps identified in public participation processes, the second part of this project focused on hosting a workshop that would bring people together in an effort to rebuild trust. The workshop centered around the meaning of community and sense of place, as these topics are relevant to the health and relationships of communities. The event was hosted on Arizona State University's Tempe campus, and the participants were all connected to the university in some way (student, faculty, or alumni). A pre-workshop survey was sent out to participants to gauge favorite places on campus and what made those places meaningful. The workshop itself was broken into two parts: Part One focused on the building a trusting space for the workshop and unpacking the definition of community in a group discussion. Part Two included two mapping exercises that engaged participants in how the land around ASU's Tempe campus had changed over time, followed by a discussion about how the history of land affects communities. A post-workshop survey was sent out two weeks after the event to see how participants had incorporated lessons from the workshop, if at all. The workshop process brought up several interesting areas for further research. One outcome of the discussion in Part One of the workshop was that the participants tended to think of community in terms of relationships rather than place. People also interacted differently based on how confident they were in their knowledge of the topic at hand, whether expert or informal. Public participation workshops like this have implications for how governments, businesses and schools approach stakeholder engagement. With the right balance of power and co-creation of knowledge, public participation events can become places for members of a community to rebuild trust in each other and the institutions that govern them.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Bringing sustainability science into the body

Description

This project draws sustainability material out of the textbook and into the body using a
role play simulation modeled around Michigan wolf management. In this case, role play simulation is a game fabricated to reflect the complexity of real-world conflict.

This project draws sustainability material out of the textbook and into the body using a
role play simulation modeled around Michigan wolf management. In this case, role play simulation is a game fabricated to reflect the complexity of real-world conflict. The goal of the exercise is to engage players in mock negotiation and expand their knowledge of wicked environmental problems. By encouraging participants to question their own thought process, the activity aims to foster a transformational experience.

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Created

Date Created
2020-05

Feed Your Senses

Description

Feed Your Senses is an illustrated book made to holistically communicate links between local food systems and cultural wellbeing. Food was the center of my household growing up; my mom’s love of food, cooking, and experimenting with flavors molded my

Feed Your Senses is an illustrated book made to holistically communicate links between local food systems and cultural wellbeing. Food was the center of my household growing up; my mom’s love of food, cooking, and experimenting with flavors molded my palette from a young age. As I got older, I realized that everyone has a deeply personal relationship with their food - no matter what their upbringing. My developing interests in food took off when I started traveling and experiencing the uniqueness and vibrancy of food culture. Food became the object of every trip I took.

The summer after my Junior year, I studied abroad in Denmark and was given the opportunity to create my own research topic. My interest in Sustainability has always revolved around food, so I started thinking about ways that I could incorporate this interest with the geographical backdrop of Århus, Denmark. Food is a medium for so many uniquely human creations: celebrations, art, connection, and taste. Food is also a big driver of climate change, as the meat and agriculture industries account for more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions. However, I wanted to research more than food. I wanted to incorporate balance; a balance of local and global food systems, a balance of individual and community relationships, and a balance of science and art. I wanted to show how food is a driving force in achieving global sustainability and resilience.

After much contemplation, I began researching the connections between local food and community wellbeing in the city. I interviewed farm-to-table chefs, local farmers, farmer’s market vendors, street food vendors, and consumers on their relationships with food. The topic itself was flexible and open-ended enough so that each interviewee could relate it to their lives in a unique way. I loved the research so much that I decided to continue interviewing stakeholders in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Through the continuation of my research in Arizona, I was able to include a comparative element that offered a better perspective on the matter. I found that the history of the country itself has a significant influence on people’s mindsets and actions surrounding food and the environment. The common theme I heard from all interviewees, however, was their confidence in the power of food to unite people to one another and to the natural world.

I chose to create this illustrated book because my research experience was a whole and inseparable experience; it could never be fully expressed in words. I wanted my project to be an intellectual and visual map of my journey, inspiring the reader to go on a journey of their own. Therefore, I partnered with an undergraduate art student at Arizona State University, Sofia Reyes, to help create my vision. I shared my experiences, photos, and stories with her so that she could create the beautiful watercolor paintings that make the book so visually appealing and accessible to all demographics. The images act as a way of engaging all of our human senses, initiating a stronger connection to the material presented.

Creating this project was my favorite experience as an undergraduate, and I feel fortunate to be able to tell the stories of those intimately tied to the local food system. I am in the process of entering my book in various competitions including Writer’s Digest, Reader’s Favorites, The Food Sustainability Media Award, and The Indie Book Awards. I am also going on to publish the book through a small publishing company.

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Created

Date Created
2018-05

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Living in a Wounded World: Sustainability and Psychological Trauma

Description

Greater cross-disciplinary collaboration between the fields of sustainability and clinical psychology could lead to improved outcomes for both. Moreover, some forms of mental disorder, such as PTSD and Moral Injury, constitute serious challenges that require the attention of sustainability’s interdisciplinary,

Greater cross-disciplinary collaboration between the fields of sustainability and clinical psychology could lead to improved outcomes for both. Moreover, some forms of mental disorder, such as PTSD and Moral Injury, constitute serious challenges that require the attention of sustainability’s interdisciplinary, systems-focused, solutionsoriented approach. My research frames the impacts of combat-related psychological trauma on military veterans as a sustainability problem according to criteria put forward by Arnim Wiek’s Transformational Problem Solving framework. I also provide a review of studies demonstrating the treatment benefits of agricultural therapy for veterans diagnosed with PTSD or symptoms associated with Moral Injury. I then describe my own efforts investigating the connection between trauma and sustainability using survey measurements, interviews, and participant observation onsite at Growing Veterans farm in Mt. Vernon, Washington. The results strongly suggest that sustainable agricultural can be of powerful clinical benefit to traumatized veterans and that sustainable behaviors and values in general increased as trauma symptoms decreased. More broadly, the project indicates that slight shifts in how we approach solution formulation and how we articulate and disseminate sustainability messages could have profound positive effects on the sustainability’s success.

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Date Created
2018-03-27

Communicating Sustainability Solutions Through Photojournalism

Description

Strategies and interventions have promoted the sustainability of urban communities, but effective communication of these solutions is lacking. Documentation of current solutions tends to be dense and difficult for non-academics to understand. Sustainability scientists and practitioners need ways to meaningfully

Strategies and interventions have promoted the sustainability of urban communities, but effective communication of these solutions is lacking. Documentation of current solutions tends to be dense and difficult for non-academics to understand. Sustainability scientists and practitioners need ways to meaningfully and intelligibly communicate their experiences to the lay public. This project sought to visually present sustainable community development solutions to address this communication barrier. Members of urban/community gardens in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona, and Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark, were photographed, interviewed. Their feedback was then examined to assess the degree to which photographs can tell a holistic sustainability story.
The photographs focused on aspects of life and behaviors that have contributed to happiness in local communities. A website was created and a gallery event was mounted for public review and discussion. Gallery attendees and website visitors were asked to complete a survey to assess (1) gained knowledge of sustainability solutions, and (2) how effective a tool photography is as a means of sustainability solutions communication.
This visual medium allowed people think about how to incorporate sustainable community solutions into their own lives and may have changed people’s interest in, and thoughts about, overall sustainability and sustainable solutions. The survey results demonstrated that photographs can successfully communicate sustainability ideas. Specifically, viewers gained an increased awareness of how community and urban gardening can increase happiness, well-being, and sense of community. This visual approach can continue to be used to more successfully communicate additional sustainability solutions ideas and methods to the public.

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Date Created
2017-11-15

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Community and Composting in Victory Acres

Description

"Community and Composting in Victory Acres” implemented a pilot composting program for a local neighborhood in an effort to increase community cohesion. Victory Acres is a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood located in Tempe that used to have easier access to

"Community and Composting in Victory Acres” implemented a pilot composting program for a local neighborhood in an effort to increase community cohesion. Victory Acres is a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood located in Tempe that used to have easier access to the Escalante Community Center before the 101 freeway divided the community. Residents of the neighborhoods surrounding ECC do not have access to the Escalante Community Garden except on Community Harvest Days twice a month. The goal of the project was to reconnect broken ties to the ECG through a neighborhood composting service. Through composting, residents could directly benefit from the community garden’s composting capabilities while encouraging a more sustainable method for dealing with food waste. The composting pilot project in Victory Acres was used as a way to mitigate the greenhouse gases emanating from food waste along with other neighborhood issues. The project would encourage aspects of community cohesion, sustainability, and happiness. By the completion of the project, composting in the neighborhood could continue through increased access to the Escalante Community Center Garden. An assessment via survey responses was made on improvements in perceived community connectedness, sustainability, and happiness. The pilot was unsuccessful in gaining a large client base for composting participation, but it was successful in exploring challenges and barriers to implementation of projects in Victory Acres. Several intervention points were explored, several lessons were learned from successful and unsuccessful engagement techniques, and opportunities arose for further future research.

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Date Created
2017-04-28

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Translating Sustainable Values

Description

The composition of this project can be described as half responsive digital media composition and half social experiment. It is built for the seven screen display of the Decision Theater and utilizes a combination of digital media and creative software

The composition of this project can be described as half responsive digital media composition and half social experiment. It is built for the seven screen display of the Decision Theater and utilizes a combination of digital media and creative software tools along with sensor technology to create a media environment that responds to real time physical feedback from participants. The experience uses different desired interactions or “levels” to examine the tension between Shalom Schwartz’ three sets of bipolar cultural values represented in his theory on cultural value orientation. Cultural values are significant drivers of human behavior that change throughout time, however rarely does society name and define these dominant forces outright. This project aims to expose people to consider these forces through interactive discovery and game play. The installation’s primary user input is based on movement and physical interaction and includes visual rewards for desired forms of cooperative engagement. Sustainability science and research often cites education and communication initiatives as the next actionable steps towards a sustainable solution. Art and design are two fields that are uniquely suited for completing this next step, because they both regularly examine, critique, create, and comment as a part of shaping culture and encourage reflexive thinking about our norms and values. The design process included interdisciplinary engagement which is detailed alongside project outcomes, theoretical ties to sustainability, symbolic representations, and observations of user experiences. It may be considered a pilot test of the potential for creative and interactive digital art platforms to allow for the exploration of cultural values and connections to sustainability. This ability to reflect and consider the assumptions that may be engrained within cultural value orientation is fundamentally important to the wider recognition of the cultural shifts needed to create a sustainable future.

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2017-03-23

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Chapter House: A Vision for a Sustainable Future

Description

Since the the Long Walks of the 1860’s Navajo people have wrestled with the problems of acculturation and assimilation, while trying to preserve their spiritual and cultural foundations. Though history has negatively affected Navajo wellbeing (happiness), sustainable Navajo principles and

Since the the Long Walks of the 1860’s Navajo people have wrestled with the problems of acculturation and assimilation, while trying to preserve their spiritual and cultural foundations. Though history has negatively affected Navajo wellbeing (happiness), sustainable Navajo principles and practices act as a positive counterweight.

Aspiring to build the most socially and environmentally sustainable chapter house possible, the Navajo Nation’s Tonalea Chapter collaborated with our ASU research team. Two roundtable discussion with Chapter elders and members, led to a vision foundation that embodies physical, functional and environmental conditions, as well as cultural and spiritual beliefs and values.

Initially, Houde’s (2007) Six Faces of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) were used to sort commentary. Analysis and review led to expanding the framework from six to eight traditional ecological knowledge categories (TEK8): Culture, Spirituality, Ecosystem, Time, Land, Design, Social Justice and Equity, and Economics.

Sorted narratives and discussions revealed traditional ways of life, beliefs, and values, along with suggestions about who to design for, and what functions are most needed. Based on the TEK8 categorized comments, design recommendations were offered.

Additional work is needed, but a strong foundation for a framework mapping TEK to sustainable design for indigenous people has been developed. By using the TEK8 to address social justice issues through participatory visioning, culturally appropriate design and broader opportunities for happiness may result.

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Date Created
2016-11-24

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What Am I That Is That?

Description

This paper explores the question, "What if we extended to our own being the aspiration of well-being and flourishing that we strive for in our sustainability work?" I offer my findings as a reflective essay, lightly grounded in autoethnographic methods,

This paper explores the question, "What if we extended to our own being the aspiration of well-being and flourishing that we strive for in our sustainability work?" I offer my findings as a reflective essay, lightly grounded in autoethnographic methods, that presents as a persuasive essay. The intention is to deliver an offering for a new (old) state of being.

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Date Created
2021-05