June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.98.1 - 11.98.7
A Productive Inner City - Environmental Technology Collaboration
Rochester New York’s North East Neighborhood bears close resemblance to communities in many developing countries; it is characterized by high unemployment, an undereducated population, lack of capital, and little economic mobility. As such it requires cognizance of similar realities of engineering and design as might be required in developing countries. Civil Engineering Technology, Environmental Management Technology, and Environmental Science students from Rochester Institute of Technology have provided engineering and environmental services in this environment since 2002. Projects have included a low cost drip irrigation system design/build for a 3.5 acre community vegetable garden, and field scale trials of low-cost lead phytoremediation. This paper reports on an environmental assessment project completed in support of a community rebuilding effort. Two students completed 19 ASTM Phase I Environmental Assessments (EAs) during the summer of 2004 to determine suitability of city- owned abandoned properties for urban renewal redevelopment. The EAs were completed on behalf of a neighborhood association. The EAs included records searches for past ownership and land use, fuel and chemical storage, and spill reports, as well as GIS analysis and mapping. Interviews with local residents and site walk-overs added to the understanding of past land use. The students met with local community leaders to keep them abreast of progress. The project culminated in a student-lead community meeting where they presented findings, made recommendations, and delivered their reports. As with projects in the developing world, this project benefited the host community, and allowed the students to apply techniques in a non- traditional setting. More importantly, it demonstrated the importance of communication in keeping the project aligned with the needs and desires of the host community.
Rochester New York’s North East Neighborhood bears close resemblance to communities in many developing countries; it is characterized by high unemployment, an undereducated population, lack of capital, and little economic mobility. This study concentrated on the Upper Falls, South Marketview Heights, and North Marketview Heights neighborhoods of Rochester New York’s, 10th Ward. The census tracts that make up these three neighborhoods represent the largest contiguous group of low-income tracts in the 15-County Genesee Finger Lakes Region1.
According to the US Census Bureau, Rochester saw a drop in median household income between 1990 and 2000. The census also revealed that 44.8% of population of the 10th Ward lived below the poverty level in 2000. Rochester’s employment dropped from 135,700 (1991) to 108700 (2001), according to the NYS Department of Labor. The median household income in the majority of these census tracts was below $20,000 per year1.
The 2000 census indicates that this area’s residents are mainly African American (63 percent) and Hispanic (30.4 percent). Although statistics are not available for this sector, the Rochester City School District has a graduation rate of approximately 30 percent1.
Rochester’s population as recorded by the 2000 census is 30 percent less than it was in 1970. As
Goldowitz, J., & Korfmacher, K. (2006, June), A Productive Inner City Environmental Technology Collaboration Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--918
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015