3rd Year Architecture
Minoring in Sustainable Cities
How did you first become interested in sustainability?
In my junior year of high school, I took AP Environmental Science. I was able to go on a field trip to Costa Rica, where I learned about the principles of sustainable living. We stayed in eco-lodges for the entire trip and learned how to live a minimal lifestyle. We went to this farm in the mountains that was completely self-sustaining – the owners built everything with materials from their property, they grow their own food, got their drinking water from a well, and used renewable energy. I felt like this sustainable lifestyle was one that more people, including me, need to strive for.
Tell me about yourself and your program.
I am from Augusta, Georgia. When I’m not in studio for architecture, I love hiking, playing with my dogs, and antique shopping. My minor program is called sustainable cities, and it is under the School of City Planning at Georgia Tech. The minor is all about incorporating the tenets of sustainability into the planning process for communities, neighborhoods, and urban areas.
What has been your favorite thing that you’ve learned about?
I enjoyed learning about urban heat islands in one of my classes last semester. Heat islands are areas where there is a ton of concrete and not enough trees or greenspace, causing an increase in surface temperature. This can cause serious public health and energy problems, and it is a huge issue here in Atlanta. One thing that we learned about was this building in London that gets so hot because of the heat island effect that it can melt cars and set other buildings on fire.
What is the importance about learning about sustainability in architecture?
As architects, we design all of the buildings that go into making cities and communities. We have the responsibility of incorporating sustainability into these buildings. Architects need to set the standards for all buildings to incorporate sustainable features like renewable energy, rooftop gardens, and water-saving systems. Architects can be the drivers of sustainability in a community.
What should people know about this minor?
Anyone can do the Sustainable Cities minor- it’s not just for architecture students! You can focus on the policy side of sustainability, which is just as important as the planning side. This is an amazing program that teaches you how to apply sustainability principles to building communities.