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A First Year Engineering Affordable Housing Project

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Design in Freshman and Sophomore Courses

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.27.1 - 14.27.15



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Paper Authors

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Madiha Khurshid University of Calgary

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Marjan Eggermont University of Calgary


Daryl Caswell University of Calgary

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M. Khurshid is a second year biomedical student.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A First Year Engineering Affordable Housing Design Project


A second year biomedical engineering student, instructors, agencies and members of the community worked together to design a first year engineering design curriculum for seven hundred and fifty entry level engineering students for the 2008/2009 academic year. The goals of the curriculum are threefold: to make students aware of our city’s 10-year Plan to End Homelessness, to introduce a workshop on the root causes of homelessness, and to design sustainable, inclusive, affordable housing (Fig. 1).

This presentation will focus on a hands-on design project for all first-year engineering students. In 24 teams of 28 students, they will design affordable housing that is structurally sound, sustainable, cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, functional, meets the client's needs and has community input. The 30-student team will be subdivided into 4-person groups. Each group will cover one of the following aspects: project management, urban planning, sustainability, interior design, building, costing, and architecture. Effective communication will be key to the success of each 28-person group.

As part of this project, community members will be surveyed to consider their needs for potential future affordable housing developments. The surveys will be used to identify specific concerns the community has about affordable housing projects and how these homes/buildings can be better designed to minimize those concerns. Including a community voice in the affordable housing project may help to reduce NIMBYism (Not In My Backyard).

This design project hopes to educate engineering students about the local issue of homelessness. At the same time, it will give students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge towards a solution to an open-ended, real-world problem. This paper will describe the project details and will have examples of student design work.

Figure 1: Example of modular affordable housing - Spacebox in The Netherlands 1

Khurshid, M., & Eggermont, M., & Caswell, D. (2009, June), A First Year Engineering Affordable Housing Project Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4516

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