Research Project Outline – Beatrice Fairbanks

Name: Beatrice Fairbanks

Class: Environmental Behavior Research I (SIE562) Fall 2012 Section HC3

Date: December 3, 2012

Research Question: • Abstract
Developing affordable housing system for the rapidly growing urbanization slums can be sustained. How, utilizing local material with the appropriate technology tailored for the cultural conditions of their communities. Minimizing energy consumption, by incorporating passive energy/photovoltaic thermal for cooling and heating, rainwater harvesting, and for reusing for irrigation and waste, local capacity involvement for self-sustained. Thus, there will not have negative impact on the ecosystem and the environment.

Literature Review: (one page of annotated bibliography double-spaced, of at least three sources)

1. Development Context and the Millennium Agenda
The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements 2003
Revised and updated version (April 2010)
How can governments in developing countries meet the over populated cities and increasing slums/shelters. Housing infrastructure and land allocation, land rights.

2. Danko, S. (2010), On Designing Change. Journal of Interior Design, 36: v–ix. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-1668.2010.01044.x
Janda, Kathryn B. Buildings don’t use energy: people do. Architectural Science Review Vol. 54, Iss. 1, 2011
This article discusses new approach and forward thinking in designing buildings/house with alternative energy consumption, it argues against that building do not uses energy but people do. How can people in what ways utilize the natural illuminance, energy and to conservation.

3. Lawrence, Mike, Andrew Heath, and Pete Walker. “Determining moisture levels in straw bale construction.” Construction and Building Materials 23, no. 8 (2009): 2763-2768.
This article gives the history on straw bale construction, the effective cost, different types of straw bale, and its benefits.

4. Henderson, Kathryn. “Ethics, culture, and structure in the negotiation of straw bale building codes.” Science, Technology & Human Values 31, no. 3 (2006): 261-288.
This article talks about the integrating technology with traditional construction for maximum benefits and low cost self sustaining approaches.

5. Magwood, Chris, and Peter Mack. More Straw Bale Building: a complete guide to designing and building with straw. New Society Publishers, 2005.
The authors give the practical guideline and information about construction with straw bale, the logistics and how to guide.

6. Keating, Thomas F., and W. Andy Knight. Building sustainable peace. United Nations Univ, 2004.
This article discusses the economic sustainability of a country and its citizens for stability and maintaining peace (Haiti as the subject in discussion)

7. Kean, Sam. “From the Bottom Up.” Science 327, no. 5966 (2010): 638-639.

8. Sherpa, Dawang. “Affordable Solution for Earthquake Resistant Building Construction in Haiti.” (2010).
This article is about finding solutions to building affordable housing, earthquake adapt, and wind or hurricane resistant and meeting the residence basic needs and attracting donors.

• Methods: Straw Bale Building:
Building walls with straw bales can be accomplished with unskilled labor, and the low costs of the bales make this technique economically attractive. Straw bale construction uses baled straw from wheat, oats, barley, rye, rice and covered the walls with earthen or lime stucco.
Traditionally straw bale are a waste product which farmers do not use until under the soil, but do sell as animal bedding or landscape supply due to their durable nature.

Because of the ever increasing housing material and building cost, the straw bale method for constructing walls has been recently resuscitate as a low cost alternative for building highly insulating walls. The system had been practiced in the plains states in the latter 1800’s and early 1900’s. Some of these structures remains and functional till this day. The technique has been applied to homes, farm buildings, schools, commercial buildings, churches, community centers, government buildings, and airplane hangars. Straw is an excellent insulator around the ratio of 40, when comparing it to fiberglass straw bale take little energy to produce, it is recycling a waste product for farmers. The thermal benefit is that the walls are very thick and aesthetically pleasing an equivalent wood frame wall would be very expensive and waste of trees. They are easy to stack therefore, unskilled laborers can access with minimum supervisory.

For safety and security concerns, paradoxically a finished straw bale walls are very thick and dense that they have a better fire protection rating than conventional wood-frame walls. They are resistant to earthquakes, high wind of 145mph from hurricanes. Lastly farmers will not have to burn them to pollute the air quality for about 80% of the straw bale are burned after the grain harvesting.
Plastering interior with readily available locally found clay and exterior with lime plasters. Effective as a structural material for roofing will be bamboo or tall grass for thatching both are locally found and wildly grown in most countries. The bamboo and wire mesh is used to reinforce straw bale, they are cheap and has rapid growth rate they can be harvested several times within a year, and they are strong. By using the bamboo or tall grass, will help slow deforestation and illegal lodgings.

• Why This Interest Me & What is At Stake: one paragraph per
My interest in straw bale housing its sustainable architecture, affordable housing, alleviating urbanization slums. Earth is the most important building material, providing housing for the majority of the world ‘s population, which is available everywhere and cheap.

The cost of these buildings is extremely important, it’s a community’s initiative, thrift, and ability to organize and turn local resources to advantage to meet the basic human need of housing. The actual building program will be self-help, with technical assistance; owner built housing, unless the head household is single mother. It is control participation, meaning the government is not building the housing project for them the operation will use local resources in small groups and will tight knit community continuity in tradition. In most developing countries the housing system are not subsidized neither does the government provide building regulation for the developer to build standard affordable housing. Therefore, most dweller cannot afford what the independent developer builds. The more affordable, the more donors will be attractive and the more the straw bale housing can compete with conventional methods of building.

The house will be complete with rainwater harvesting system attaching to above or below cistern. Complete with communal low cost direct photovoltaic system for lighting and other low-demand electrical needs.
This is a forward thinking in protecting the environment and it’s ecologically sound method of constructing new building forever increasing population. With the integration of advanced technology in the building the rural dweller will enjoy their knit community without the need to move to the cities for economic mobility.

Research Project Outline- Heidi Korsavong




DECEMBER 3, 2012

Research Question:

How do U.S. made textiles for interiors employ sustainability in their production?  How can we support more local textile artisans to adopt sustainable practices?

Literature Review:

Stieg, Cathy 2006. “The Sustainability Gap,” Journal of Interior Design Vol. 32, Number 1 pg. 7-21

This article addresses the gap between theory and practice on the topic of sustainability with regards to the interior design profession.  The author seeks to address this issue by increasing connection and knowledge of the subject to be integrated within all phases of the design process and practice.  She believes this shift will lead to a commitment on interior designers part to adopt sustainable behavior in all aspects of their design approach.  This article is relevant to my research question in that the same issues: lack of education, conflicting information, industry criteria such as LEED affect textile designers’ ability to easily adopt sustainable practices.  This article offers a starting point to address these issues and encourage implementing positive change.

Beatty, Bronwyn and Lorena Gibson, 2009, “Culture and Development: New Paradigms.” Knowledge Notes, Synexe 2009/02

In “Culture and Development: New Paradigms”, Bronwyn Beatty and Lorena Gibson discuss how neo-liberalism has given rise to thinking about culture as an asset in development.  This is in stark contrast to more traditional economic and policy models, which tended to view culture as an impediment to progress.  The term creative economy is the concept is used to describe the creativity and learned knowledge to culturally distinctive produce goods and services.  They look to incorporate culture into development as an institution.  By doing this they recommend tapping into existing local networks and structures.  By infusing stakeholders with a familiar and existing framework, they encourage ownership and participation.  Secondly, using culture as a resource isolates what is unique and distinctive about objects or materials coming out of the culture.  These traditional goods and services become products and commodities, which are a sustainable and viable economic option to decrease poverty.

Conaway, Janelle.  2012. “A Peruvian Textile Tradition and the Challenges of the Marketplace” Grassroots Development, v33 n1 p29-33 2012

In, “A Peruvian Textile Tradition and the Challenges of the Marketplace” the author provides an overview of the efforts of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), a non profit organization that supports the local textile weaving industry in Chinchero, Peru.  The organization provides economic means for approximately 700 weavers in 10 communities.   They have made commitments to their weavers to purchase their goods in advance of sales. Each community sets its own standards for pricing and quality control. The article addresses the challenges the organization faces.   First, it is difficult to charge high prices on the textiles because consumers do not understand the high level of skilled labor and time involved in the weaving process.  Secondly, the system is reliant primarily on a local tourist market and a few buyers, which is in keeping with the communal way of life, but does not reach the amount of buyers needed to keep the system sustainable.  Finally, the organization also addresses the balance of keeping traditional textiles alive and adapting their products to appeal to a contemporary marketplace.  From the facts, the article points to the importance of educating tourists and other consumers on the high quality, rich tradition, and cultural value of purchasing the textiles produced by the indigenous Peruvian communities.


Both articles highlight the value of cultural diversity, indigenous knowledge and posit that sustainable business models come from encouraging community participation as well as making those involved stakeholders.  While the articles both focus on indigenous, often marginalized, people in foreign countries, the concepts are still applicable to small, local businesses.


I plan to conduct personal interviews with individuals involved at different levels of the textile field on the curatorial level and individual artisans.  Three sources I have initially outlined to interview are:

–          Textile Curator at the American Folk Art Museum.  In this interview, I hope to gain a better insight into the rich textile traditions indigenous to this country and some historical context to place contemporary textile artisans within.


–          Curator of On Purpose: Art & Design in Brooklyn, 2012 at the BRIC Arts Museum, whose current show focuses on: “On Purpose will feature inspiring work from Brooklyn-based designers, architects, and visual artists working across disciplines on projects that address the environmental challenges of contemporary urban living. All of the work featured in the exhibition will combine a focus on sustainability with a desire for beauty in our social, domestic, and professional spaces.”  For local artisans, supporting community involvement as well as exposing their products to potential consumers is necessary to support the economic aspect of their sustainable business models.  In this interview, I hope to gain knowledge of those active in promoting these artisans as well as ways to increase their visibility to the larger interior design community.


–          Textile Artisan for Interior Fabrics.  By interviewing an textile designer currently practicing in the field, I want to understand the decisions that govern design decisions and the production process to see if there are ways to implement more sustainable and environmentally conscious practices.


What is at Stake?

Born out of an interest in rich textile traditions of indigenous cultures, I want to examine the artistic value and techniques created by local artisans.  Rather than exoticizing the textile traditions of foreign cultures, I want to focus my research on a more local level.  By studying small businesses and individual textile artisans and learning their practices from their fiber choices, sources, finishing techniques and dyeing processes, I think small changes can be made working within an existing infrastructure to adopt more sustainable practices, increase exposure and education for both the artisan and consumer.

Laura’s Research Project Outline

Laura Novich

Environmental Behavior Research


Research Question:  Examining the supply chain of a small sustainable building materials manufacturer, how does the supply chain break down by cost and environmental impact at each step? How are these elements of the supply chain conveyed to consumers, if at all?

Literature Review:  Irland explains how wood products that are cut from sustainable, certified forests are not being recognized as such due to lack of comprehension in the multi level supply chains and why this happens. It is important to understand the facts of where a system is failing in order to repair the problems. They did this by analyzing data that they had from the different parts of wood supply chains. Their key findings were that it is hard to market wood as certified through all the levels of supply chain. They explored those problems to help approach the situation and make the marketing of certified wood more apparent.

Zou and Couani explain how the new methods of green building can have an effect on the supply chain of companies and what risks they faced. This is important because understanding and addressing those problems could help promote and expand the industry. They sent out 250 questionnaires to professionals in Australia with 93 sent back, but only 91 valid. Their key findings were that it seemed possible to improve the green building industry, but there is a definite need for further research and development, education, experience, knowledge sharing and technology. The summary argument is that there was a general “lack of commitment in the supply chain to go green” and that there were financial risks companies felt were a result from green building.

Da Rocha and Sattler argue how materials can be recycled and reused after construction, because the construction industry produces the greatest amount of waste and, thus, causes severe environmental problems. This is an important task because it will help create a more sustainable production model for others to use. The authors did a single embedded case study by taking available data from Porto Alegre, Brazil and analyzing it. They found through the data and their own supply chain management approach that economical and social factors, and not just the lower socio-economic class, support the reuse of building materials.   The summary argument is that by using their supply chain management approach, they can use it for “close loop” supply chains.

Koletnik, Lukman and Krajnc explain how the European Council enforced new recycling laws for demolition and construction, setting a goal of at least 70% of construction waste be recycled by 2020.  The authors did a case study of the construction waste from roads in Slovenia. They took the data that was available and analyzed it, concluding the environmental impacts of the waste. Their key findings were that the construction of new roads has the most severe environmental impacts based on their toxicities and other chemical harms, followed by waste processing and then demolition.

Methods: I plan to use interviews and analyze data from archival research. Personal interviews will give me the most insight into a company and how it runs from a first hand account. Archival research will give me the qualitative information that companies published versus actual numbers and information.

Topic Importance: This topic interests me because I see a huge need for transparency in construction product manufacturers that claim to be sustainable. It is easy for an average consumer to believe good marketing declaring to be green, but it is another thing to be able to see deeper into the truth and come to your own decision. Materials are the backbone of sustainable design and it is misleading for designers that so many companies pretend to be more sustainable then they are.

Works Cited:

da Rocha, Cecillia Gravina, and Miguel Aloysio Sattler. 2009. “A Discussion on the Reuse of Building Components in Brazil: An Analysis of Major Social, Economical and Legal Factors.” Resources, Conservation and Recycling 54 (2) (December): 104–112.

Irland, Lloyd C. 2007. “Developing Markets for Certified Wood Products.” Journal of Industrial Ecology 11 (2): 201–216.

Koletnik, Damijan, Rebeka Lukman, and Damjan Krajnc. 2012. “Environmental Management of Waste Based on Road Construction Materials.” Environmental Research, Engineering & Management 59 (1): 42–46.

Zou, Patrick X. W., and Paul Couani. 2012. “Managing Risks in Green Building Supply Chain.” Architectural Engineering & Design Management 8 (2): 143–158.


An Outline




Research Question:  ask the question to guide your research (use words: sustainable, interior, and environment)

Literature Review: (one page of annotated bibliography double-spaced, of at least three sources)

Methods: list three types in a sentence or two each and why you would want to use them

Why This Interest Me & What is At Stake: one paragraph per


An Outline for a Social Science Research Paper

0) Abstract
1) Witty introduction
2) Introduction with arguments and summary findings
3) Theory / literature review
4) Literature review / theory
a. History
b. Main bodies of literature to respond to
5) Methods – how you got your data, how much of it, why that way
6) Analysis (if you include it) – what you did with your data
7) Findings – what I found
8) Discussion – use theory and literature to look at your findings
9) Conclusion – implications for policy, theory, and/or social change
x) references