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Developing and Testing an Inter-disciplinary Course of Sustainable Technology Innovation for Urban Design

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Architectural Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Architectural Engineering

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Paper Authors


Xiaojing Yuan University of Houston, College of Technology (MERGED MEMBERSHIP WITH COE)

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Dr. Xiaojing Yuan is Associate Professor in the Computer Engineering Technology program of Engineering Technology Department. She is the founder and director of the Intelligent Sensor Grid and Informatics (ISGRIN) research lab and actively involving undergraduate researcher in her research on networked smart data acquisition systems, wireless sensor networks, and data analytics of the data collected. Her research interest also includes quality-of-service enhanced networking protocols, pattern recognition, data mining, and their applications in cyber security.

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Bruce Alan Race FAIA, FAICP University of Houston Orcid 16x16

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Bruce Race, FAIA, FAICP, PhD joined the Gerald D. Hines School of Architecture as Director of University of Houston’s newly created Center for Sustainability and Resilience (CeSAR). Prior to joining UH, Dr. Race was an Associate Professor of Practice and a full-time faculty for Ball State University’s Master of Urban Design program in Indianapolis. His design talent, practice experience, and research interests intersect in his classroom studios where he emphasizes community engagement and design innovation grounded by real world experience.

Dr. Race is the principal and founder of RACESTUDIO and is responsible for all aspects of project planning, design and delivery. Since founding RACESTUDIO in Berkeley, CA in 1994, his projects have received 32 design and planning awards including national awards from the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, Environmental Protection Agency and Society of College and University Planning. The Long Range Development Plan for UC Merced received a national 2012 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award, and the Owings Award for Environmental Excellence, from the California Architectural Foundation in 2013.

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Architecture and engineering technology students are entering professions that demand innovation and interdisciplinary leadership in the 21st century. Building codes, professional ethics, commitment by professional organizations, and emerging business models are shifting the urban development and building practice and emphasizing more on the development of climate and people friendly cities/urban and community centers with low-carbon footprint targets: net-zero energy, waste, and water. Architect and engineers need to work closely together to make it happen. Students in both programs need to be prepared to become an active contributor and leader in the design, development, and management for such high-performance communities, districts, and cities. In this paper, the authors are sharing the process of creating and co-teaching such an interdisciplinary course, the course details such as learning objectives from both instructor and student perspective, rubrics used, assignments, case studies, final project, and their impact on students learning. The paper also details the learning and practice environment developed for students from both programs to become comfortable working in an inter-disciplinary team. Both case studies and the final project were designed to give them the opportunities to apply design thinking and problem solving aptitude in an interdisciplinary fashion. The paper will also provide examples of students design for part of the campus – north campus – that demonstrates their capability to integrate active technical solutions with existing passive architectural design theories and models to achieve the sustainability and resiliency goal setup for the north campus, with expectation that its negative carbon footprint will compensate for the remaining campus.

Yuan, X., & Race, B. A. (2018, June), Developing and Testing an Inter-disciplinary Course of Sustainable Technology Innovation for Urban Design Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30304

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