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.


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

Recent Submissions

  • WINDOW RETROFITS: Demonstrated need for targeted public program in Tucson, AZ

    Iuliano, Joey; Wong, Kenny; LaPlant, Cory; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2022-05)
    Buildings account for over a third of U.S. energy consumption, and roughly a third of that is used for environmental conditioning. To achieve a sustainable future, we need to address the consumption of our existing buildings that do not benefit from advancements made in new construction. This study targeted a single feature previously identified in sustainable retrofits that appears to be lacking in change, window retrofits. The study focuses on Tucson, Arizona to identify a need and support for a social financing program to support the high upfront cost of completing large-scale window retrofits in urban areas. Green retrofit success is predicated on financial and policy support, which are missing in Arizona, lacking support for window retrofits in its existing sustainability programs. This study shows that nearly 40% of homes in Tucson are still operating single-pane windows and that implementation cost acts as a barrier to homeowner action. With appropriate funding, an estimated savings of $45M in annual energy production could be achieved.
  • Perceptions of water shortages among Tucson residents

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Barajas, Marisa; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    Arizona has been experiencing water shortages due to climate change and population growth. This has led the City of Tucson to increase water prices for the residential sector. By surveying and interviewing 14 residents of Tucson, this study looked at people’s perceptions of this new policy change to determine attitudes toward and awareness of the water crisis in Tucson. The study found that there is a relationship between the number of years people have lived in Tucson and the level of awareness of the water crisis. It also showed that people's perceptions of the impact of increased water prices are short-termed. This indicates a need for increased water awareness among the residential sector. Additionally, future studies need to look at the difference in perceptions of water crises among different age groups. This will provide a better understanding on what information should be made available to different age groups.
  • Housing, Transit, and Gentrification: What’s the Link?

    Avila, Ashley; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    Studying the causes and effects of gentrification on communities is vital as the United States faces severe housing challenges, demographic changes, and new rural-urban-suburban dynamics. By using two surveys and American Community Survey data, this study explores gentrification risk, factors that contribute to gentrification, and possible mitigations towards gentrification in the Menlo Park neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona. In Menlo Park, 66% of surveyed residents show strong levels of concern regarding housing prices. While most residents mentioned the role of the streetcar in increasing housing prices, all residents surveyed would support similar transit implementations in other areas. Finally, 64% of respondents in Tucson who are familiar with gentrification show support towards Cottage Court housing in their neighborhoods, with similar levels of support for other middle density housing types. These findings can help inform future transit implementations in Tucson and provide support towards zoning reform, which would allow for more middle density housing to be created in Tucson. In addition, this study provides an overview of how transit implementation affected a historic barrio community in Tucson, while acknowledging possible ways to mitigate displacement threats.
  • What the future wants: redesigning class space for changes in learning

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Phillips, Jake; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    Educators have long struggled with keeping students in school, as traditional classrooms can be uncomfortable and disengaging. Research has shown that a better learning environment can lead to improved academic results. To address this, classroom design is crucial in prioritizing student well-being and creating a comfortable, calming, and conducive to learning environment. This study aims to assess how classroom design affects students' learning experience by analyzing survey data. A survey was conducted across three classes, with eight respondents per class, totaling 24 respondents. The results showed that most students suggested improvements to better equip the classroom for learning. The results also suggest that an ideal classroom with proper learning techniques can help students be more engaged and focused. Future studies need to be conducted to survey a larger sample of students and across different higher education institutions to better understand a relationship between student learning outcomes and classroom design.
  • Enhancing Pedestrian Safety with Tactical Urbanism

    Barker-Winkworth, Lydia Maye; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    The number of pedestrian fatalities resulting from vehicle-pedestrian collisions in Tucson, Arizona, has increased between 2018 and 2022 according to the City of Tucson Police Department. The speed of a vehicle during a pedestrian-vehicle collision, or the impact speed, is a main factor in the probability of severe pedestrian injury or fatality. Tactical urbanism (TU) is a low-cost, small-scale, human-focused, temporary strategy used to address pedestrian safety and mobility issues. To determine the effectiveness of a TU project on South 6th Avenue in downtown Tucson, a quasi-experimental research design was used wherein vehicle speeds were recorded before and after the TU installation on the experimental street (6th Ave) and a selected control street (S 4th Ave). Results from a City of Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility intercept-survey is also analyzed in this study to gain a better understanding of how perceptions of safety and mobility vary among different road user and demographic groups on the 6th Ave block. Analysis of vehicle speeds before and after the TU installation on 6th Ave show a decrease in average vehicle speed, which lowers the probability of pedestrian fatality along the block. The importance of public engagement and participation in the effectiveness of TU design is also emphasized through a literature review and the intercept survey results.
  • The Effects of Green Space on the Psychological Well-Being of Apartment Residents

    Finnegan, Molly; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Wong, Kenny; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    Apartment dwellers generally lack the accessibility that homeowners have, however, green space is suggested to be an important component in the psychological well-being of residents. Prior studies suggest benefits like stress reduction, mood improvement, reduced feelings of anxiety and depression, and an overall improved psychological well-being from exposure to green space and views of green space. This research study uses a questionnaire to evaluate individuals’ accessibility to green space and their levels of life satisfaction, stress, and general psychological well-being. A follow up interview with apartment residents suggests the components that comprise an effective green space that residents can enjoy and benefit from, such as adequate seating, shade, tree coverage, flowers, grass, and a sufficient size.
  • Careless College Crossings

    Brenish, Landon; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Wong, Kenny; Stocker, Phillip; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    This paper discusses the importance of pedestrian safety, particularly for college students who are among the most vulnerable road users. Pedestrian accidents, especially involving young adults, are a major concern. Inadequate pedestrian infrastructure is a leading contributor of these accidents. This study aims to understand the behavior and perception of college students towards pedestrian infrastructure, and whether they intentionally use safer crosswalks. The literature review highlights that pedestrian safety infrastructure has a positive impact on pedestrian confidence, increased crossing, and safer drivers. Unfortunately, it can also lead to impulsive behavior in young adults. In order to understand students perceptions of pedestrian safety infrastructure, observations of students’ walking habits were compared with traffic speeds and survey results. Understanding the perceptions and behavior of college students towards pedestrian infrastructure will help cities implement pedestrian infrastructure that promotes safe, walkable areas around universities.
  • Where is the Social Sustainability in Green Buildings?

    Shao, Stella; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    While green buildings today are labeled as “sustainable,” many of them actually fall short, especially on social sustainability metrics. Through literature review, document analysis, and site survey, this study examines what the current state of research and development is on social sustainability in green buildings and what the best practices are. The findings indicate that green building rating systems are a major trend in the academic research and are criticized for valuing environmental sustainability over social sustainability. Document analysis confirms that LEED, the most widely used green building rating system, does not adequately address social sustainability. A site survey at the LEED-certified Tulsa City-County Library demonstrates how to properly balance social and environmental sustainability in a building. Recommendations are made for future green buildings based on the data collected.
  • Winner Takes All or Win-Win: The Pros and Cons of Water Trading in Arizona

    Ferreira, Jessica; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    Water markets have been identified as one solution to addressing water scarcity in the Western United States. This paper examines how water transfers indicate water commoditization and the implications surrounding water markets' social, environmental, and economic aspects. A systematic review of the recent literature found a disparity highlighting substantially more research on the environmental and economic benefits of water markets than on the social impacts of water markets. This finding contrasts with survey responses that found Arizona residents prioritize social needs, revealing a disconnect between what academics discuss in the literature and what is important to people.
  • Assessing Community Needs in The Brownfield Site Redevelopment: A Case Study of The Broadway Volvo Site

    Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny; Blas, DaviAnn; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
  • What attracts people to parks: a case study of a U.S. and South Korean park

    Woeppel, Chas; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    With the increase in urbanization, green spaces are becoming fewer and fewer within cities. This study focuses on two types of parks in two different cultures, a world apart. One in Seoul, South Korea, and the other in Nashville, TN, USA. These comparisons will help to spotlight what makes the parks unique and why these two parks are used by the citizens of these two different countries. Data was gathered from the existing literature through surveying five people in each country. The results indicate there are many similarities between the two countries related to why people go to these parks, but there are also differences. Studying these differences may help to create green spaces suitable for visitors in each country.
  • Applying Sustainability Measures to Heritage Conservation In De Pere, WI

    Van Rixel, Julie; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    Heritage conservation is essential to preserving the cultural and historical identity of a specific place. Small towns and communities are losing their individuality as the world becomes more homogenized and globalized. This paper aims to examine and discuss the heritage conservation efforts in De Pere, Wisconsin, as an example to understand the challenges and opportunities faced by small communities in preserving their unique sense of place. It also addresses the misconception that it is difficult and inefficient to retrofit old buildings into energy-saving structures. It highlights the possible overlap between historic preservation and sustainability objectives and makes the case that these two aims can be reconciled through innovative and adaptable techniques. Through analysis of the preliminary pilot study data and a literature review of the various approaches and strategies that have been used in conservation, techniques are extracted and applied to De Pere, Wisconsin. Beyond implementation, the paper hopes to maintain that heritage conservation should be considered conservatively, considering the true needs of the community based on occupancy rates, income, price points, safety, and other factors. This study aims to convey that heritage conservation and old building reuse is the most sustainable option to preserve America's small towns' unique heritage.
  • Agrivoltaics Effect on the Environment and Natural Resources 2 Building: Rooftop Heat Island Effect

    Gonzalez, Isabella; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Apanovich, Nataliya (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    The combination of Photovoltaics (PV) and Agriculture brings fourth an innovative urban agriculture system called Agrivoltaics (Hall, 2023). The increased usage of human-made materials has led to an increase in ambient temperatures in urban settings, which is one of the main contributors of the urban heat island effect, especially larger cities (EPA, 2022). There is a research gap in understanding the potential of Agrivoltaics to mitigate the UHI effect in urban areas. While there has been some research on the benefits of green roofs and walls in reducing urban heat, there is limited research on the combined benefits of Agrivoltaics and green infrastructure. The relationship between Agrivoltaics and urban heat was studied using primary quantitative data collected from the Environment and Natural Resource 2 Building located on the main University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona. The findings of this study indicate that the Environment and Natural Resource 2 Building rooftop Agrivoltaics system has the potential to improve the conditions of the surface area by cooling the surrounding ambient temperature. Future research should examine the economic viability of Agrivoltaics and urban heat island mitigation strategies. This will entail evaluating the costs and benefits of implementing a and identifying potential barriers to their adoption.
  • Break the Chain: The cycling gender gap in Tucson, Arizona

    Olvera, Rene; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    Tucson, Arizona is considered one of the most hazardous places for cycling. Despite the dangers, cycling has gained popularity as a convenient and beneficial mode of transportation, leading to a demand for improved infrastructure. To address the gender gap in cycling, this study examined the perceptions of different cyclists in Tucson. By employing a mixed-method approach that included a public survey and observation, the research identified key factors that contribute to the gender gap. The findings emphasize the need for new and adequate cycling infrastructure as the city expands and its residents seek more sustainable and equitable transportation options.
  • LEEDing The Way: An Analysis of Activities Performed in LEED vs non-LEED buildings

    Bernal, Sandra; Heros, Josh; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Bernal, Sandra; Apanovich, Nataliya; Wong, Kenny; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    The real value in environmental design must contribute with integral solutions to education, health, and climate change simultaneously. Through qualitative concurrent data collection, this study reveals patterns with respect to activities of studying vs being social and healthy habits in LEED and non-LEED academic buildings. Using as a base case a WELL-certified building this study compared and contrasted design strategies in the spaces. Through the observations at ENR2 (a LEED Platinum certified building built in 2015) and McClelland Hall (a non-LEED building built in 1994) on The University of Arizona campus, evidence indicates that the difference in the function of LEED vs. non-LEED in higher education spaces is present with respect to activities of studying vs. being social.
  • Addressing Environmental Injustice in Tucson with Green Infrastructure

    Ells, Jackson; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Apanovich, Nataliya; Wong, Kenny; Bernal, Sandy (The University of Arizona., 2023-05)
    The Tucson Metropolitan Area (TMA) has an unequal distribution of wealth. This wealth is centered around the Catalina foothills and the neighborhoods located around the University of Arizona; however, these inequities widen even more when it comes to environmental vulnerabilities. In Tucson, not only are lower-income communities increasingly vulnerable to extreme heat events, but they are also more negatively affected by flooding from large rain or precipitation events than their more affluent neighbors. These extreme exposures are called “environmental injustices”, and they are detrimental to the community’s built environment and road infrastructure, not to mention they also negatively affect the public health standards of the local residents. Thankfully, Green Infrastructure (GI) and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) is known to mitigate the severity of the urban heat island effect and seasonal flooding in the Southwest. By using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software to do a vegetation analysis of communities of varying incomes in Tucson, there is evidence that communities with lower median incomes have less vegetation cover than other communities. This disparity in access to GI or GSI resources is important to consider when accounting for all residents of a large metropolitan area, especially residents in lower-income communities. Given the evidence that lower-income communities in Tucson have less vegetation cover and access to GI or GSI resources, it is important to advocate for equity of access to green resources to encourage equitable public health outcomes across the entirety of the TMA. This research has culminated into a small scale GSI plan and proposal for a site located in South Tucson, a community that has a significantly lower vegetation cover percentage than its wealthier neighbors. As we move forward and strive for sustainability in a large desert city, it is essential to advocate for GI or GSI equity in Tucson’s lower-income communities in order to bolster public health standards and promote sustainable and green landscape design in the region.
  • Redeveloping Tucson's Strip Malls into Mixed-Use Developments

    Mouisset, Katlin; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Apanovich, Nataliya; Apanovich, Nataliya; Bernal, Sandra; Wong, Kenny (The University of Arizona., 2023)
    The city of Tucson, Arizona, has experienced significant growth in population and urbanization over the past few decades, with high-rise apartments being built as a primary method of densification in downtown Tucson. However, concerns about the sustainability of this approach have prompted a reevaluation of alternative solutions. This paper explores the potential of redeveloping underutilized areas, such as strip malls, as a sustainable housing solution. Through an analysis of Tucson's housing crisis, along with studies on rezoning and redeveloping shopping centers, this paper argues for the need to change the face of Tucson's urban landscape. The study focuses on three existing strip malls in Tucson and includes a survey of local residents to determine their attitudes towards housing on top of strip malls. Results show strong support for this approach, highlighting the potential for a significant number of new housing units to be built atop strip malls. The findings also reveal both strengths and weaknesses of strip malls that can be leveraged to improve not only these locations but also other shopping centers in general.
  • Wetlands restoration and conservation of cultural and environmental value of Totorales in Huanchaco, Peru

    Benites, Claudia; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Murieta, Joaquin; Wong, Kenny; Iuliano, Joey (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    The Peruvian coast has approximately 40 wetlands that are part of the biological corridor of wildlife, especially birds. In addition, in Huanchaco the totora reed ponds are the main economic livelihood of the locality because of its traditional management to build the ''caballitos de totora'' (reed horses). Due to urban growth and the Niño Phenomenom, the consequences are flood, solid waste and sewage pollution, coastal erosion, and air pollution. The research explores the cultural, economic, and environmental importance of the Wetlands, as well as the historical framework of the ''caballitos de totora''. At the same time, it proposes conceptual strategies to be applied for the restoration of the Huanchaco wetlands with green infrastructure and participatory design, as well as for the prevention of the effects of the El Niño phenomenon and urban sprawl. In the first part of the study, a case study of restoration success stories is developed, an expert on the subject is interviewed, a site analysis is made and finally, a small-scale project exploration is proposed. In the second part, the guidelines to be followed are determined with the objective of replicating the strategies for other ecosystem and rainfall restoration projects. Finally, the project proposes participatory planning based on green infrastructure that functions as a sustainable drainage system, in turn creating a buffer edge with green corridors and waterscapes to reestablish the relationship between man and wetlands. This infrastructure takes advantage of the excess water that occurs during the El Niño phenomenon as an opportunity to create urban spaces and generate a series of green spaces that can be carried out with participatory planning by the fishermen of Huanchaco and their families.
  • Safe cities through urban design: The case of San Juan de Lurigancho

    Pachas, Alejandra; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; joey, Iuliano; Joey, Iulano; Kenny, Wong (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    Road insecurity has been a concern in San Juan de Lurigancho (Lima, Peru), making residents feel unsafe when moving on foot or by bicycle. The emphasis on automobiles in planning roadways and cities causes this issue. In addition to the low design quality of the streets, there really is minimal upkeep and the informality of Peruvians. After an investigation of the area and interviews with several locals, it was determined that one of the district’s crossing points, Avenidas Próceres de la Independencia with Av. El Sol shows a high degree of road insecurity, which is reflected in traffic accidents. In addition, it was observed that the area presents a large lost space, the berm under Line 1 of the Lima Metro. This analysis helped in the proposal of an urban design that enhances the urban area in a sustainable way, where the pedestrian is focused, generating walkable cities that are safe and suitable for all types of users.
  • 15-minute cities as a solution to the post-pandemic world. The case of the San Juan de Lurigancho’s district in Lima

    Casas Osorio, Valeria Sofia; College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture; Iuliano, Joey; Iuliano, Joey; Wong, Kenny; Bernal, Sandra (The University of Arizona., 2022-12)
    This project focuses on a sector of the most populated district of Lima, San Juan de Lurigancho, which has more than 1 million inhabitants and does not have an adequate urban design for its citizens. I present a new sector design focused on micro-mobility (bicycles, skates, scooters), strategies of the 15-minute cities, neighbors’ needs, and the current outlook of COVID-19 in Peru. To achieve this, we use surveys to analyze each street through images taken by google maps and our images. The strategies used in the USA, Spain, and Colombia were used as a reference for the design. As an ultimate result of the project, we got a superblock that meets the resident’s needs. They feel confident that the proposed design will meet most of their expectations if another pandemic happens in the future.

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