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.


QUESTIONS? For more information, please visit: http://sbe.arizona.edu.

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Recent Submissions

  • Recommended Design Strategies for a Sustainable Library Retrofit

    Cowling, Ethan; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05)
    Using the third floor of the University of Arizona Main Library as a model, this project aimed to identify energy efficiency measures, design strategies to improve occupant comfort, and modernizing library spaces for current functionality. The project identified eight Energy Conservation Recommendations (ECR's) and fourteen Architectural Improvement Recommendations (AIR's). More strategies are identified over the course of this project; however, the following implementations were determined to be the most pertinent for future designers to consider in a library retrofit.
  • Analysis of the Built Environment of Manufactured Housing Communities in Tucson, Arizona

    Sandoval, Myriam; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-14)
    This study will analyze the built environments of three large, manufactured housing communities in Tucson, Arizona. The three communities were chosen using existing research of manufactured housing density in Pima County. With the implementation of a rating system incorporating aspects of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the SITES Rating system, the three communities were assessed on several criteria, each on a scale of one to five. The essential problem that the built environment of manufactured communities face is an abundance of asphalt and a lacking green open space and shading. The research question being posed will determine which of the three manufactured communities suffers the most from an abundance of concrete and asphalt. From the analysis, it was determined that two of the manufactured communities, Plaza del Sol and Country Club Manufactured Housing Community, were given the same assessment from the rating system that was utilized to answer the research question. Given the limited rights residents in these communities have over land ownership, it is often challenging to achieve green infrastructure practices in these communities to promote more shading and green open space.
  • Adopting Sustainable Transportation Design: Mitigating Heat Island Effects in Tucson Communities

    Vega, Daniel; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-13)
    This study looks at the communities located in two zip codes of Tucson, AZ, which are 85713 & 85757. In this research, solutions for issues such as Urban sprawl, Urban heat island effects, and insignificant usage of active transportation methods are explored. Residents of both areas participated in two surveys. We concluded that many of the residents heavily rely on automobiles for travel, especially in the area of 85757 because they are far from the major urban centers. Also, many of the residents of both zip codes felt that their neighborhood was too hot to consider active transportation methods and that activities such as biking and walking were unsafe or inaccessible. However, through the surveys, many participants are open to consider and adopt active transportation methods should their neighborhoods and built environments allow for it. We can allow this to become a reality through sustainable design. With programs such as Tucson’s complete streets and Bike Boulevards, we can promote healthier and safer transportation. A sustainable street model was developed to promote safe active transportation, create shade while lessening heat island effects, and beautify the city of Tucson.
  • Getting a Fair Share: How Developers Can Increase Development of Low-Income Housing

    Butler, James; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-13)
    The growing wealth gap and lack of available low-income housing have become significant problems in the United States. Lack of available low-income housing leads to an increase in homelessness and financial hardship for low-income families. In Tucson, low-income housing options are few and far between. This project is designed to get a perspective from a property developer on why there are so few low-income housing complexes in Tucson. It also tries to identify solutions and incentives for developers to build more low-income housing complexes while still being economically viable. This project asked essential questions about low-income housing to local developers, gathering statistical data and developing a financial analysis on low-income and non-low-income properties, researching different government programs and funds available to local developers, and researching unorthodox strategies that cities or developers can implement. Through research in this project, there are particular economic and political reasons why developers avoid investing in low-income housing. Another key finding from the study is there are different programs and risk-mitigation strategies that can limit risk in investment of low-income housing development. The main incentives and strategies found that developers can use to build more low-income housing are applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credit, applying for the Tucson Community Block Grant, identifying abandoned buildings to construct low-income housing, and taking advantage of Tucson’s GPLET program. The main strategies found that the City of Tucson can implement to promote low-income housing complexes are relaxing zoning laws, building more city-owned parking garages, and removing off-street parking requirements. Developers can use this project to determine a strategy and incentives that can be used to develop low-income housing, which Tucson desperately craves.
  • Cost-Effective Home Improvements: Comfort Edition

    Kramer-Lazar, Sean; Cereda, Mindy; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-13)
    Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects human and animal comfort levels. The Napa Valley has been feeling the effects of this most recently with wildfires, drought, and power shutdowns. The case study in this paper analyzed the best course of action to improve the comfort levels for the occupants of a home in Napa, California. Quantifying the comfort levels and what factors will improve the quality of life for the people affected by these extreme temperatures will be the main focus. Climate Consultant 6.0 software was utilized to make decisions regarding the home’s repairs or renovations required to make the comfort levels better for its occupants. It was determined that the most effective repairs and renovations were insulation and solar panels. Insulation by itself is about $1,173.30 without including labor. Solar panels costs vary depending on if the homeowner chooses to finance, lease, or pay with cash up front. These recommendations included an approximate amount of cost savings for the homeowners, which were estimated to be $78,000 over 20 years for the solar panels alone.
  • Can Sustainable Design Be Competitive?

    Metcalf, Jonathan; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-12)
    Sustainable buildings are the future of the construction industry. Governments and agencies are implementing tax credits and incentives to encourage new projects to use green design. There is still the perception that sustainable design is more costly than traditional construction methods. The first step to help more projects be sustainable is to understand what these incentives are and how they lower costs. Secondly, people who are not in the construction industry lack understanding as to what sustainable design is and the benefits are of using it. The results of a survey showed that the general public is still not aware of how sustainable design works, can be used in residential, multifamily homes, and how it can save money over the life time of a building. Sustainable design has a 2% higher premium when compared to traditional, but there is a solution to this. When using the cost savings during the design phase, tax credits and incentives this 2% increase is taken out of the equation. By looking at buildings that use these tools and data, we can see how sustainable design is affordable.
  • A Study on Urban Sprawl and Air Quality in the United States

    Ries, Suzanne; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Currans, Kristina; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05)
    Urban sprawl and density issues can raise problems related to public health, the environment, and transportation in metro areas. This study looks at urban sprawl levels in 60 metropolitan statistical areas in the United States. It analyzes the relationships between air pollutants and transportation variables and if increasing sprawling development is associated with declines in air quality, and if air pollutants in sprawling cities are decreasing at a slower rate than less sprawled cities. It was discovered that while this relationship is significantly more complex than initially predicted, PM2.5 levels were able to support the hypothesis of that in MSAs that had increasing levels of sprawl, air pollution was higher. However, AQI and ozone levels behaved entirely differently than predicted. Based on these findings, many more questions arose around the relationships between these variables. Are the relationships more complicated than they appear? How can they be better defined?
  • Are Tucson Sidewalks Infrastructure Limiting the Mobility of Wheelchair Users?

    Rincon Gallardo Diep, Ricardo; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-12)
    Wheelchair accessibility is a crucial aspect for mobility purposes in wheelchair users and in Tucson, AZ there are barriers in the urban infrastructure that hinder mobility for those with physical disabilities. The available literature on wheelchair accessibility suggests that there are measurements that can be done to assess whether a particular site is wheelchair accessible or not, and just how accessible this site may be. This study analyzes physical characteristics of the urban infrastructure near the University of Arizona to determine whether access is available for wheelchair users in the streets nearby and just how accessible these streets are. Contrary to what the university offers in terms of accessibility, the streets surrounding campus are predominantly inaccessible for wheelchair users because of barriers in the urban built environment that pose real obstacles to wheelchair users like the absence of curb cuts, incomplete sidewalks, and poor sidewalk surface quality and street crossing conditions.
  • Wheelchair Accessibility Within Single-Family Homes

    Adolph, Alesha; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Culbert, Mike; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05)
    Single-family homes in the United States often are not wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair users have shared their significant experiences with facing barriers within their homes. This study built a shared understanding of what is needed in homes for wheelchair users and how designers and therapists can influence these needs. Further, it provides examples of how homes can better and more easily be designed or retrofitted to be wheelchair accessible. The data came from a series of semi-structured interviews with Wheelchair Users, Architects, and Occupational Therapists from Tucson, Arizona, on their experiences with accessible design. Each type of interview was given a different series of questions. The results showed that cosmetic changes such as doorways and flooring were the most straightforward changes, while bathroom layout and plumbing fixtures were the most difficult changes. These are essential changes to make, according to all interviewed. These results suggest that single-family homes are still a common barrier for wheelchair users and their caretakers. More attention needs to be made to accessibility from the design focus in order for fewer barriers and changes to be faced. Accessible homes are achievable if designed to be so from the beginning.
  • Improving Community Development Through Sustainability and Affordable Sustainable Housing

    Robinson, Jonathan; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2021-05)
    Sustainability is one of the most discussed topics in the world. Sustainability innovation and principles are immeasurable and are remarkably effective if applied correctly. Such principles can impact governmental decisions making on national, state, and local levels. The values of sustainability can always be improved and shared among everyone, not just those with the economic resource to afford its techniques. This study investigated the importance of improving sustainable practices in low-income communities while creating affordable housing through data collection, analysis, and interpersonal surveys. It was found that investing in sustainable communities and affordable housing has both environmental and economic growth benefits all people will enjoy.
  • Climate Mitigation for Arid Region Vineyard

    Brown, Waverly; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05)
    The global wine industry takes up to 7.4 million hectares (18.3 million acres) of land worldwide (“Leading Countries in Global”). The climate, terrain, and soil composition are major determining factors of the quality of wine produced. Most of the wine grapes produces are found within Mediterranean climates; however, the amount of arid to semi-arid region vineyards has increased (Vukicevich). The biodiverse hotspots that contain the proper growing parameters for grape growing are at risk due to climate change (Hannah). The current regions that could support viticulture reduce 25% to 73%, with projects being up to 62% crop decline by 2050 (Hannah). Increased temperatures, frequent storms (hail and frost included), and varietal loss were the main concerns reported (Callaghan). Climate change impact reduction within arid region vineyards, mitigation efforts must be applied by vintners or with the interaction of local government conversation programs or tax credits. This study provides a review of viticulture within arid regions through an assessment of current climate change impacts and mitigation efforts, local interviews with Arizona vintners to understand which areas are most vulnerable, which mitigation activities are used, an analysis of legislation and government aid to increase adaptation practices within arid region vineyards. It found that local vintners reported 20%-30% crop loss in 2020 due to hail storms (Callaghan). Not only is crop loss a significant result of climate change, but the varietals that survive the thermal stress and lack of precipitation on-site will also result in a reduction of wine quality and vine longevity (Cardell). Both existing literature and local vintners report hail damage as the most critical production risk to their crop yield. Mitigation efforts were successful on a site-by-site basis. Neighboring vineyards reported varied responses in the peak vulnerability of their fruit farming (e.g., cover crop, soil amendments, increased temperatures, hail management, varietal loss, varietal shifting, spatial diversification). However, tac credits, policies, or education on these hazards have room for improvement**. To increase climate mitigation in arid region vineyards, government agencies must anticipate the indirect effects of climate change on the wine industry and respond with vintners to emphasize agricultural adaptation and conservation action.
  • Finding a Place to Plug: A Review of Factors Influencing Optimal Electric Vehicle Charger Locations

    Newman, Taira; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-10)
    This paper explores the factors that should be considered when selecting a new location to place an Electric Vehicle (EV) charger. To increase the confidence in EV driving ranges and encourage the adoption of EVs the supporting infrastructure will have to rise to meet demand. Charging stations need to be optimized to account for driver preferences with regards to location and rate of charge. Variables such as proximity to trafficked routes and short wait times can attract drivers looking to recharge. The implementation of renewable energy to power EV charging can reduce the strain on the grid and lower energy costs while enticing drivers to use ‘greener’ stations. By understanding common characteristics of EVs drivers and identifying populations with these same traits’, stakeholders can target potential markets for successful projects. Using major findings of current EV studies and a dataset of existing EV locations in Tucson, Arizona, it is possible to determine that the stated research supports the existing data. Keywords: Electric Vehicles, EV Charging, Renewables
  • Motivations For Volunteering

    Imblum, Nicholas; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-11)
    This study explored what motivates a person volunteer, how they feel when doing so, and how we can encourage more people to volunteer to incentivize them to do so to benefit the community and themselves. People completed a questionnaire to understand what motivated people to volunteer. The number of responses were limited but gave enough information to establish trends. Through the answers from the questionnaire, it was determined that people who volunteer feel better afterwards and are likely influenced by seeing or having a friend do it. These findings are consistent with other studies. Having people share their experiences with friends may help increase rates of volunteerism.
  • Foraging in Tucson's Parks: Interest, Barriers, and Opportunities

    Ortez, Paola; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05)
    This paper considers the negative impact of reducing green spaces in cities on people-nature relationships and how urban foraging can help bridge that gap using Tucson, Arizona, as a case. All park policies, laws, and regulations at both city and state scales and laws that affect trees lining streets are reviewed. A content analysis was performed with questions relating to the following barriers to foragers: behavioral restrictions, management practices, and safety concerns. In addition, University of Arizona students were surveyed to gauge interest in an edible city initiative in Tucson, Arizona, and an interview with an urban land planner gave further insight into the design aspect of incorporating edible landscaping in a city. It was concluded that the language in laws that affect public parks, state parks, and streets is restrictive to foraging practices, with the common theme being that people should not be interacting with vegetation in parks. Moreover, student surveys showed interest in foraging, especially for educational purposes and alleviating food insecurity. It is concluded that for Tucson to start a city-wide edible city initiative, the legal barriers must be addressed first.
  • Food Deserts & Multifamily Greenhouse Design

    Bazua, Tiburcio Jr; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-04)
    World hunger, global climate change and human population growth provides the need to reinvent the built environment and the agriculture industry by combining both in a sustainable manner. This research project explores the challenges and provides clarity on growing food indoors with recycled rainwater. While simultaneously providing insights into the aspects of net-zero energy structures and their designs in the missing middle housing sector. The proposed eco-plex building can support 845 crops while recycling 88% of all gray water, saving 146,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Strategies to Create and Maintain a ‘Sense of Place’: Addressing Developmental Impacts That Have Resulted in Gentrification Through Time

    McClean, Kayla; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Daughtrey, Cannon; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-06)
    The purpose of this study is to address the impacts of development/redevelopment that have resulted in gentrification and community displacement throughout history. Upon analysis of the impacts of historical development policies, it was found that prior policies and strategies exacerbated effects such as gentrification and displacement. However, through examining two case studies and a participatory survey, solutions to developmental impacts can be drastically improved through participatory planning and inclusion of existing residents. The conclusions propose strategies that have successfully reduced adverse impacts and set up avenues for future research and policy to continue these successes.
  • Applying Design Improvement Guidelines to Bus Stops in Tucson, AZ

    Loh, Isabelle; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-05)
    Public transit is a complex system with various factors that affect its service and use, such as regional geography, socioeconomic factors, land uses, and demographic characteristics. This paper aims to only examine and discuss the role of design in the public transit experience and apply more contemporary approaches of design that goes beyond traditional functionality at bus stops. The topic of bus stop design is significant because previous studies have shown that design plays an important role in maintaining and increasing ridership by improving public perception of transit. Improvements in the immediate physical urban environment can also encourage other modes of active transportation. Through an analysis of preliminary pilot study data and an in-depth literature review into the role, components, and techniques of bus stop design, feasible approaches of design are extracted and applied to local bus stop sites in Tucson, Arizona. Beyond implementation, this paper hopes to convey that bus stop improvements should be approached with moderation—considering what is truly needed based on ridership volume, price point, availability of space, technological advancements, or other extraneous factors. This study ultimately is of the view that the bus stop is a complex yet rarely studied space full of opportunity and hopes that novel approaches in design will take advantage of said opportunities to turn transit zones into coveted community spaces rather than zones of lower value.
  • An Alternative Approach to a Achieve Water Resiliency

    Anderson, Jack; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-10)
    This case study of Auckland, New Zealand, examines an alternative method of water supply. Centralized water utility networks supply the majority of water to all municipal sectors. Increased population and an outdated and failing distribution system mean water shortages and restrictions are becoming more frequent occurrences for the cities around the world. The uncertainty of water resiliency must be brought into question regarding the future supply of water for Aucklander’s who are becoming increasingly subject to restrictions placed on water use. This study looks at rainwater harvesting as an alternative method of water supply to the failing centralized system. Water supply, obtained from flow data provided by the utility, indicate seasonal water use patterns. GIS analysis of each distribution zone in Auckland provides a clear analysis of each structure’s roof area. Runoff Data compiled from 70,834 structures suggests that runoff from precipitation events would be sufficient to fully replace centralized supply in months of higher rainfall. Partial offsets of ≥ 75% were also simulated in 5 of the 7 distribution zones studied. The correlation between roof area + runoff produced and water supplied from the utility is also examined to determine the best zone for implementing this alternative approach.
  • Better Military Housing through Sustainable Building

    Buchele, Shannon; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-10)
    Significant issues have come to public light in the past three years regarding privatized military housing. Inefficient design and building practices, combined with poor management and maintenance have contributed to unsatisfactory energy performance in houses and significant health, life, and safety concerns for military families. However, sustainable building practices can be utilized to improve the overall function and living conditions for our military members and their families. This capstone collected data through a literature review, resident survey, and a case study to understand the scope of issues that military families face while living in privatized housing. Recommendations based on these results point toward a more sustainable future for military housing that could help improve living conditions and welfare for military families.
  • Planting the Seed: How Urban Agriculture Grows a Stronger Community

    Kramer, Sean; Crawford, Teja Lee; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2021-05-08)
    Urbanization, food miles, and food deserts are all factors that call for a reconstruction of the way we think about food. This report examines three potential methods of urban agriculture that can be used to create a more dynamic food system. This is done first through a literature review that examines three main concerns of urban agriculture: the benefits to the community, lack of space, and need for government involvement. Each method is then explored through a case study. Peri-urban agriculture is looked at in the Greater Melbourne area. Traditional agriculture is examined through Seattle’s P- Patch system of community gardens. Finally, innovative urban agriculture is seen in New York’s collection of controlled environment farms.

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