The Fall 2016 semester has been one of the most productive and successful semesters yet for the parks project. We have been able to build valuable connections, develop original, sustainable designs, and all while becoming increasingly involved in the community. Our goal this semester was to find ways to both utilize our engineering knowledge and develop increase the sustainability of both the campus community and the University Heights Community. We developed strong relationships with the campus garden club, located on UB north campus and the University Heights Tool Library, located in the University Heights district.
Starting the semester we were presented with a problem that the campus garden club has been facing; access to a reliable source of water. We as engineers brainstormed many different solutions to try and develop a sustainable method of irrigation for the garden. A couple of these ideas included pumping water from nearby Lake LaSalle, collecting rainwater, and creating a well to tap into groundwater. After much research we decided to proceed with the rain water collection design which would provide much needed water but also provide a space for gathering and working. After finding an applicable grant, a team of four was formed to design the structure. This team later branched out from Parks Project and became their own project in the ESW Buffalo chapter called P2I Project.
Next, collaborating with the University Tool Heights gave the Parks Project an opportunity to become more involved in the community. The Parks Project set out to find ways to bring an element of sustainability to the University Heights area while adding to the community. After touring the district and observing multiple parks and green-spaces we decided to focus on a single park. Here, we will implement bench and sign designs designed by our team using reused pallet wood. We are also developing other sustainable designs, such as a bike maintenance station constructed from reusable material.
In the Spring 2017 semester, we plan to build the designs for the benches and signs, then install them to a single green-space as soon as the ground thaws. We also plan to develop other ways to increase sustainability in the parks such as further rain water collection systems, and planting of native flora species. A survey had been spread through the community, the parks project will aim to meet the needs and wants of the community based on the results of the survey.
We look forward to being able to increasing sustainability in both the campus and local communities in the future, and are always open to any new ideas or thoughts!