ABOUT THE COLLECTION

The Senior Capstone is the culminating experience for Sustainable Built Environment majors involving a substantive project that demonstrates a synthesis of learning accumulated in the major, including broadly comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and its methodologies. It is intended to be a personalized experience in which a student explores a concept in-depth while incorporating the knowledge or investigative techniques learned during his or her undergraduate career. Students are encouraged to build upon their major Emphasis Area, internship, or a previously completed project or research topic for the starting point of their Senior Capstone experience.


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Recent Submissions

  • Traditional Housing Solutions for the Navajo Nation

    Bernal, Sandra; Boyd, Kendall; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Gaxiola, Ivan (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    This capstone research examined to assess and explores the housing issues indigenous communities face to come up with solutions on how to meet their housing needs when it comes to designing a traditional home. Many Indigenous communities’ houses are very substandard as it can be very overcrowded, system deficiencies, or certain condition within the household. Not to mention the Navajo Nation being a large reservation as the demographic contributes to why it is difficult to have a comfortable income as their lack of jobs in the community, poverty, and no funding from government. When these causes happen, it leads to Indigenous families to not have a quality house and create more stress on families. To fix these issues, this research used literature review, secondary data from pilot study survey, storytelling (interview) and document analysis. The discussions and conclusions allowed to develop a Housing Inspection Deficiency Checklist and Traditional Housing solution diagram as toolkit for the Indigenous people. As well as the potential of what sustainable traditional housing can be on the Navajo Nation.
  • Food Waste at Disney Parks and Resorts

    Delgado, Daniella; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    This paper dives into the practices and impact of food waste at the Disney Parks and Resorts, with supporting information from regulations in a normal setting restaurant in the hospitality industry and Universal Parks and Resorts. Through an exploration of food waste data and sustainability initiatives, the paper highlights the economic, environmental, and social implications of food waste. It also discusses the importance of education and awareness in addressing this pressing issue. Using a mix of methods combining quantitative analysis and qualitative examination, we aim to uncover differences in how food waste is handled and what it means for the business, Casts, and Guests. Our findings show that there are big gaps between what is happening and what should be happening, pointing to the need for more education on sustainability. Why does this matter? Understanding how theme parks deal with food waste can give us an insight on how to improve food waste management in the hospitality industry around the world. By tackling this problem head-on and providing proper education, we can create a world where we waste less and utilize our resources efficiently.
  • Shading Urban Heat: Exploring Public Perception and Design Preferences for Urban Green Spaces

    McElvain, Quinn; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Urban heat islands (UHIs) pose significant challenges in urban environments, exacerbated by the scarcity of urban green spaces (UGSs). This research investigates public perceptions and preferences regarding UGSs and their role in mitigating UHIs. Survey results indicate limited familiarity with UHIs but strong engagement with UGSs, despite gaps in understanding broader environmental benefits. In-person interviews underscored the importance of convenience, accessibility and productivity-oriented amenities in UGS selection. A follow-up survey emphasized functionality and natural elements in UGS design, with minimal consideration for sustainable features. While respondents acknowledged UGS benefits, there was a disconnect between understanding and practical application of the concepts. Targeted educational efforts are needed to enhance public awareness of UHIs and UGSs, along with considerations for sustainable design practices to encourage involvement with green space planning that attracts users.
  • Assessing Housing Affordability in New York State: Implications for Sustainability

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Ozamah, Derrick; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    The need for affordable housing includes not only low-income but also middle-income populations and cuts across ethnic groups and socioeconomic classes. This research is about the state of the housing market in New York State and focuses on affordability issues confronting middle-income families. Taking a long-term view from 2000 to 2021, this study analyzes housing affordability trend and its driving factors. Adopting summary statistics as methods of analysis, the study considers the extent of housing cost burdens faced by middle-income earners when compared to their income levels. The findings reveal significant challenges, with many families spending over 300% of their income on housing costs. The mean housing cost-to-income ratio for the study period was approximately 380%, suggesting a consistent burden on middle-income families statewide. This is a sustainability issue because housing unaffordability pushes people to move from climate stable areas to climate unstable areas. The fact that individuals and families are willing to risk moving to a climate unstable area because of housing cost should be a motivation for government incentives and interventions through evidence-based policies.
  • Landscape Disconnect: A Study of the City of Tucson's Landscapes in the 20th Century

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Martin, Ashley; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    The City of Tucson, Arizona, lies within the Sonoran Desert, yet a large portion of landscapes don’t reflect this ecosystem. The 20th Century brought about this disconnect, which is reflected in how we develop our urban greens spaces. Through the investigation of Tucson’s history with urban green spaces, we find that modern technology mixed with unrealistic ideals fueled an increase in exotic plant species use in commercial and residential landscaping. Through city-wide education programs, increased water use rates, and the implementation of native plant focused ordinances, the city was able mend some past mistakes in developing. Today, there is work we can be doing to improve our efforts, with 83% of residents from a local survey requesting more information on the benefits of Arizona native plants.
  • Improving Recycling at the University of Arizona: student behavior and attitudes

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Gammariello, Bethany; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Waste diversion at higher education institutions in the U.S. remains a growing issue. Recyclable materials that enter landfills have negative environmental impacts as well as expensive landfill service costs for universities. The University of Arizona partnered with a zero waste consulting firm to identify gaps in the current waste management operations by engaging with department head stakeholders, but did not include any form of student engagement. This research targeted the student body to identify ways to improve recycling and zero waste efforts on and around the University of Arizona campus. The research included surveying students about recycling and observations of recycling sites selected by the students. Recommendations were made following the observations and included increasing the amount of recycling bins, ensuring that recycling bins are adjacent to trash cans, standardizing the appearance of recycling bins with the help of labeling, color, and informative graphics, and finally increasing educational opportunities about recycling and zero waste efforts for students at the University of Arizona. Further research should include conducting more student surveys and engaging with the University of Arizona’s Office of Sustainability coordinators in charge of the zero waste campus program in order to identify further gaps and improvements in waste management operations.
  • Why the Sidewalk Ends: Analysis of Sidewalk Infrastructure in Tucson, Arizona

    Schrauth, Anna; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Inequitable sidewalk infrastructure perpetuates social inequalities. Furthermore, good sidewalk infrastructure has many health, social, and environmental benefits. To study the inequitable sidewalk infrastructure in Tucson, I did a case study analysis of two neighborhoods of different socio-economic status. The neighborhood with higher income levels had more and better sidewalks. I conducted interviews with neighborhood representatives and the city of Tucson professionals to understand why this was. I found that the main issues with current sidewalk development were that the funding sources are problematic and the responsibility for sidewalk development often ended up on the property owners or developers. To remedy these issues, I propose a new funding source, a development tax, and a city-run program to target areas in the greatest need of sidewalk infrastructure.
  • Pima County Wildfire Risk & the Dangers on Transmission Infrastructure

    Fink, Maxim; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Smith, Garrett; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    This research paper investigates the impact of wildfires on transmission infrastructure and proposes sustainable mitigation strategies to enhance the resilience of the electric grid in Pima County, Arizona. The study addresses the increasing vulnerability of transmission systems to wildfire risk and aims to identify specific areas at high risk within Pima County. Through geospatial mapping and risk assessment techniques, the study analyzes key variables including slope, elevation, aspect, and land use to understand their influence on wildfire behavior and transmission infrastructure susceptibility. Furthermore, the research explores sustainable alternatives to reduce reliance on the grid and increase resilience, including the adoption of distributed energy resources and demand-side management techniques. The study aims to provide valuable insights into mitigating wildfire-induced power outages and enhancing sustainability of energy systems in wildfire-prone regions.
  • Urban Heat and Their Toll

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Newberg, William; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024)
    As more people move to cities and cities grow, this study explores the correlation between Urban Heat and Heat mortality. From 2011-2021 in Phoenix, AZ, heat caused mortality increases 3.6 people per 100,000 for each degree celsius caused by UH and heat related mortality increases 6.5 per 100,000 people. Data was collected from the MODIS NASA satellite and AZ Department of Health.
  • Navigating Green Building Certification, Sustainability, and Public Perception: Identifying and Understanding Barriers to Widespread Adoption of Green Building Practices in Smaller Municipalities

    Thomas, Deirdre; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Despite the growing prevalence of green building (GB) practices in larger urban centers, as highlighted by existing research, smaller municipalities face significant challenges in adopting these practices due to economic, social, and regulatory barriers. Using a mixed-methods approach, this study integrates a systematic literature review (SLR) with a 33-participant survey and nine follow-up interviews to gather qualitative and quantitative insights into the barriers and motivators affecting GB adoption in smaller municipalities. The findings identify that the main barriers are actual and perceived high costs, limited public awareness of certification programs, and inadequate municipal support. Key motivators for adopting GB practices were financial incentives and targeted public education to promote increased GB adoption. This study highlights the importance of adapting policy and community engagement approaches to bridge the knowledge gap, align stakeholder interests with sustainable objectives, and foster enhanced community sustainability, seeking to motivate a more widespread integration and acceptance of green building practices at the municipal level.
  • Determining Insulation Materials for Low-Income People in Rural Areas with an Innovative Technology

    Shorty, Damon; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Many rural low-income communities throughout the United States have families that are forced to live in houses that are poorly constructed, which can create a variety of health issues, reduce the quality of life, and increase energy burdens. Rural low-income people often have difficulties accessing home energy improvements, expert people, and/or technology. There are many technologies and techniques for testing the performance of insulation materials. This study investigates innovative technology to test the performance of various insulation materials that include fiberglass, mineral wool, expanded polystyrene, cellulose, and four developed composites. Testing was performed for one hour using innovative technology to measure the OSB sheathing/insulation material surface temperatures, chamber air temperatures, and relative humidity every five minutes. The performance data collected were analyzed after all insulation materials were individually tested. The innovative technology could perform consistent tests on insulation materials to show the user materials that could promote a stable interior environment. Insulation materials composed of cellulose outperformed other materials and can promote a circular economy in the targeted communities. Cellulose can resist a high amount of heat transfer, be sourced locally, is organic, and recyclable. Finding solutions to address the high energy usage of buildings from being insufficiently (or non) insulated is going to be a challenge in the years to come as climate change becomes more prevalent.
  • Closing the Loop: Harnessing Renewable Natural Gas from Agricultural Waste for Sustainable Farming and Environment

    Bobst, Johanna (Hanna); College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Unlocking the transformative potential of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from agricultural waste holds the key to addressing environmental challenges while revolutionizing sustainability in farming. Agriculture plays a pivotal role in global food production but is also a significant contributor to environmental pollution through greenhouse gas emissions and improper waste management. Livestock farming generates substantial amounts of organic waste, including manure, which releases methane—a potent greenhouse gas—into the atmosphere. The overarching efforts of previous research on this issue derive from environmental agencies outside of the agricultural and RNG spaces, which created a binary approach and were thus unable to assess the full scope of the issues and potential solutions available. Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) production from agricultural waste provides a favorable solution to alleviate these environmental challenges by repurposing organic waste into a renewable energy source. There are significant benefits to the use of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) production sourced from agricultural waste, with a focus on livestock manure, as a solution to environmental challenges in agriculture. This research examines the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, the utilization of digestate with a focus on a circular economy, potential risks associated with feedstock supply, and the influence of scalability frameworks on RNG implementation. The findings demonstrate the substantial environmental benefits and highlight areas requiring further research and policy development to overcome the limitations and realize the full potential of RNG in agriculture.
  • Helical Piers. What is needed for the successful introduction of helical piers in Guilford County, NC.

    Bernal, Sandra; Beitz, Paul; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    In the face of a housing shortage and climate crisis, helical piers, a widespread technology used since the mid-1800’s, is a style of foundation that offers higher efficiency than traditional foundation types. This study focuses on why builders continually use traditional foundation building practices that take longer to install, require more skilled labor, and have larger embodied and operational carbon emissions associated with them, than building with helical piers. Currently the use of helical piers in new construction is non-existent in Guilford County, North Carolina. Interviews, a building performance survey, and observations allowed for the collection of data from homeowners, renters, building professionals, and building inspectors to better understand why this building technique has not been introduced. Outcomes are used to inform on the successful introduction of helical piers in Guilford County. The results revealed that most residents are unfamiliar with helical piers, contractors are nervous to try a new building system, and that Building Inspectors are open to more helical pier installations but see becoming a successful foundation system in Guilford County as a challenge. There are successful helical pier installers 100 miles south of Guilford County however, and the conclusion has recommendations on steps that can be taken to have a successful introduction of helical piers in Guilford County.
  • Efficient Campus, Sustainable Future: A Building Upgrade Study

    Rasburry, Jonathon; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    This case study comparative analysis explores the impact of energy efficiency upgrades on three buildings on a college campus in Arkansas. The study focuses on building design, use, and age as factors influencing the effectiveness of the upgrades. The buildings, referred to as Building A, Building B, and Building C due to owner restrictions, underwent efficiency upgrades including lighting and HVAC improvements. Utility bills for chilled water, electricity, steam, and water were collected twelve months before and after the upgrades. The results show a decrease in electricity and chilled water usage in all three buildings, indicating the effectiveness of the upgrades. Building benchmarking using the Arc tool allows engineering students at the college to track utility usage and learn how real-time conditions affect energy consumption. The study highlights the importance of consistent monitoring and analysis to optimize energy efficiency in buildings.
  • Tribal Wisdom and Sustainable Solutions: Addressing the Native American Housing Crisis through a Focus on Tribal Worldview and Sustainability

    Mears, Taylor; Stands Over Bull, Jeremy; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Examining the correlation between housing conditions and social inequalities among Native American communities reveals a striking manifestation of the ongoing crisis. This issue demands an analysis of its underlying reasons, the development of culturally sensitive solutions, and an evaluation of current methods in use. This research aims to seeks to understand the complexities of the Native American Housing Crisis through the analysis of: the historical, systemic, and socioeconomic roots of this crisis; the effectiveness of existing housing programs and policies to meet the self-determined needs of Native American communities within culturally specific frameworks; possible culturally-responsive solutions to empower tribes in developing and implementing a housing solution that is financially sustainable; the mandates, challenges, and opportunities that constitute the Native American Housing Crisis. Using oral communication and an autoethnography approach, this study identifies the longstanding need for sustainable housing, offering pathways for the positive reconstruction of Native American communities.
  • Understanding the Impact of California's Escalating Wildfire Crisis on Residents and the Necessity for Sustainable Adaptation

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Dengler, Kellen; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    California is facing a critical time in its history as the effects of climate change are manifesting themselves by way of yearly record-breaking wildfires all over the state. This crisis is quickly becoming the kind that demands urgent attention. Continuing to employ a plan of action based on the status quo and the historical way of doing things will no longer suffice. Further urban sprawl into now-fire-prone areas aggravates this issue and with residents receiving very little guidance and support from their local governments in this modern fight, it could be a recipe for disaster. The life-threatening implications of this situation are undeniable, making swift action imperative. This study uses a phenomenology-based research approach to examine the lived experiences of residents whose lives have been affected by wildfires with the goal of understanding those affects and uncovering what type of support is most needed. It integrates diverse data collection methods, both internally and externally from the University of Arizona library, a tailored survey, and detailed interviews. Several insights into the rapidly evolving nature of this issue as well as specific needs required by the affected communities were discovered.
  • A Human-Scale Redesign of University Boulevard in Tucson, Arizona

    Risser, Annika; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2024-05)
    Cities across the United States and the world have adopted Complete Streets principles in the design of streetscapes and roadways. Cities have also supported road closure to vehicle traffic at varying scales. These two strategies for sustainable development enhance the public benefit provided by streets. These benefits can include stronger social communities, safer roads across modes of transportation, and improved health of people and environments. This study proposes that Complete Streets principles be applied to University Boulevard in Tucson, Arizona to address current issues with sustainability on this road. This includes a lack of shade, seating, and infrastructure that results in an uncomfortable user experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. University Boulevard is adjacent to the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona and is a popular destination for dining and nightlife among students and long-time Tucson residents. Additionally, University Boulevard serves as a gateway to the University that many commuters rely on to get to school and work. By implementing the design proposed in this research, the City of Tucson can address current issues on this road. This article proposes that the City of Tucson adopt both Complete Streets and car-free principles to complete a sustainable redesign of University Boulevard and increase the public benefit for users of this two-block stretch of road from Park Avenue to Euclid Avenue. This research was designed to engage the public in the visioning process for a future redesign of this road and measure levels of support for the closure of University Boulevard to vehicle traffic, as well as the perceived need for human-scale, sustainable design elements in any future redevelopment proposals.
  • Frisco Future, a look to the role of sustainability in earthquake prone cities and how to prepare Downtown San Francisco for year 2043

    PALOMINO, LUIS; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-12)
    This research offers a thorough plan for incorporating environmentally friendly architectural systems in Downtown San Francisco to improve the area's resistance to earthquakes and encourage environmental sustainability. The analysis highlights the urgent necessity of upgrading the urban core with buildings that meet LEED certification requirements and make use of green building principles against the high-stakes backdrop of seismic susceptibility. The study describes a number of sustainable interventions by analyzing the potential of Downtown San Francisco, a region distinguished by its dense population, economic significance, and historical landmarks. These consist of using recycled materials, installing water-saving fixtures, and implementing energy-efficient technology. The innovative vision for San Francisco or Frisco Futura capitalizes on three methods. First, a comparative analysis of 6 cities that had experienced catastrophic earthquakes, three in the global South and three in the global north. Then a site analysis that addresses San Francisco unique position as a hub for technical talent and financial resources. Lastly, a critical analysis of the creative examples provided by worldwide sustainability projects like the Telosa (Located at Nevada, USA) and Songdo IBD (Located at Songdo, South Korea) masterplans. The research highlights the synergy between private investment and municipal support as a catalyst for change, emphasizing the critical role of public-private partnerships in achieving this aim. -Result lead is to create a resilient urban environment that serves the long-term needs of sustainable living as well as the short-term requirements of earthquake preparedness, putting Downtown San Francisco at the forefront of urban innovation and resilience.
  • Sustainability and solutions to misleading perceptions

    Lopez Quispe, Shirley Sadith; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apranovich, Nataliya; Wong, Kenny; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2023-12)
    This research thoroughly examines the subjective standards used to assess the quality of neighborhoods, including perceptions of beauty and overall standing. Central to this study is the evaluation of how the Broken Windows Theory supports or contradicts the evaluation of neighborhoods affected by sociocultural, economic, and environmental challenges. The systematic literature review, site analysis, and perception analysis via focus groups aim to identify sustainable solutions that may be mislabeled based on appearance rather than their genuine environmental purpose. Results account for scenarios that apply to Peru and the US, and the conclusion involves a series of informed recommendations that merge the benefits of the BWT and a sustainable-oriented approach to neighborhood adaptation.
  • BEYOND PLAYGROUNDS: DESIGNING SUSTAINABLE URBAN SPACES FOR CHILDREN AND CAREGIVERS IN SAN JUAN DE LURIGANCHO, LIMA, PERÚ

    Solano, Adriana; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2023-12)
    Amidst the burgeoning demand for sustainable urban design, the project in San Juan de Lurigancho emerges as a paragon, integrating climate-appropriate landscaping, local culture, and environmental stewardship. This study explores the potential of playgrounds to transcend traditional play areas, evolving into sustainable, nature-infused spaces that foster community engagement and cater to the needs of both children and their caregivers. Employing a methodological triangulation of academic research, community surveys, and on-site analysis, the study garners a holistic view of the community's aspirations. Survey results reveal a strong preference for sustainable materials and a significant desire to reconnect with nature, emphasizing the community's inclination towards environmentally conscious spaces that promote interaction with the local ecosystem. The envisioned prototype not only addresses the socio-environmental imperatives of urban design but also acts as a scalable model for global urban centers, reflecting a shift towards multifunctional recreational spaces. Future steps include broader community engagement for co-design processes, material exploration to ensure durability in San Juan de Lurigancho's climate, and the incorporation of culturally resonant design elements. This comprehensive approach promises to deliver playgrounds that are not only functional but also emblematic of the community's spirit, with a focus on safety and sustainable upkeep.

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