Last semester, students in Professor Tina Chow's community-engaged design class (CE 105 Design for Global Transformation) worked with environmental justice organizations in Stockton to help improve air quality as part of the AB 617 process. Through a “systems thinking” approach, students were exposed to ideas about how engineers can include socio-economic and political factors in their decision making.
The class was recently awarded funding from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) to sustain ongoing work being done by Berkeley engineering students with the Stockton AB 617 community to improve local air quality and address climate change. The AB 617 community in Southwest Stockton, CA ranks in the top 5% of the most disadvantaged communities in California. It is ranked in the worst 1% for overall pollution burden, and in the worst 4% for asthma rates.
Student interns supported by this project will continue work done by student teams to address air quality through energy, buildings, transportation, industry, food, and urban greening solutions. Community-engaged engineering requires understanding of the full range community perspectives and needs, and the co-development, co-management, and co-ownership of community and technical solutions. This cannot happen without long-term engagement with the community. The grant from TGIF provides funding for student interns to sustain and deepen engagement with the community over the next three years.
The key project goals for students include developing data analysis and design plans with the community, including maps, datasets, and implementation plans; continuing to participate in community meetings in Stockton throughout the year; writing articles to help with outreach efforts in Stockton; and creating a web site to synthesize Stockton resources, including community resilience maps.