InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society > Section 3: Coastal Engineering and Societal Response to Coastal Hazards > Module 9: Smart Building
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Module 9: Smart Building

Ioannis Georgiou and Kevin Hanegan, University of New Orleans
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Summary

Most deltas around the world are in a declining state. Population centers have been gravitating to deltas and coastal zones around the world, making them recently the focus of urbanization and economic development. It is estimated that within the next few decades, roughly half the world's population will live within a coastal zone. With increasing populations come big challenges to maintain ecosystem services and functions that are essential for food supply, critical managements of key resources, and to maintain socioeconomic development of deltas and coastal zones. This however is only the beginning. As we learned in previous modules, coastlines and modern society will be (if not already) further challenged by a changing global climate, placing additional pressure on the need to address changing coastlines in response to a variety of uncertainties. For instance, how do we deal with sea-level rise, water scarcity from droughts, watershed practices and possible shifts in river discharge, subsidence, and many other questions including the flood risk and vulnerability associated with climate uncertainty and the potential for larger, more intense storms?

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Learning Goals

The primary goals of Module 9, Smart Building are to understand the possible role of smart building in the present and future development of coastal regions. Upon completion of the module students will be able to:

Explain the benefits of building with nature, and distinguish smart building approaches;

Implement a smart building design for the expansion of one coastal city that is threatened by sea-level rise and storms, and employ building with nature and layered defense approaches in the design; and

Examine and evaluate the concepts of resiliency and coastal flood protection through massive nourishments, and how these new methods are setting trends in smart building along coastlines.

Context for Use

Overall, this one-week module is intended to be used alone or as part of an online or blended general education or introductory-level course that would satisfy a science distribution requirement. The module would be appropriate for non-majors and undeclared students looking for a major. There are two formats: (1) Blended where the students meet at least once to perform the activities in teams; and (2) 100 percent online. As a general guideline, the delivery of content and assessment of learning goals/objectives have been designed to accommodate the logistics of large class sizes where students are expected to work approximately three hours per week covering lecture content with an additional six hours per week of additional reading and work on assessments. Note that some students will require more or less time to meet the goals and objectives of the module.

Description and Teaching Materials

Students examine examples of communities that have high vulnerability to coastal hazards and are subjected to frequent flooding. Students are introduced to smart building, or building with nature, by highlighting the key concepts of smart building, utilizing native materials that minimize or eliminate anthropogenic footprint. Additionally students are introduced to the concept of layered defense and/or protection, an approach that benefits from both structural and non-structural nourishment and/or construction.

During one of the activities students are required to assess the threats to the Gulf Coast city of Tampa, using knowledge gained in this and previous modules, and make a series of recommendations anticipating existing and future threats, while factoring in the need for city expansion. This exercise reinforces the idea that future expansion and infrastructure development can benefit from knowledge of threat and vulnerability. Materials for students for this module are located at the link below. Teachers can find documentation of the activities at this location as well as rubrics for students. Rubrics for teachers are compiled under Assessment on this site. Suggestions for teaching and a list of the assessments are found below.

Teaching Notes and Tips

What works best for the module?

Students should be encouraged to explore the extra links and information provided in text and videos. Students who read all of the material and follow the extra, external links will develop the most complete understanding of concepts.

Students should be encouraged to search for updated videos and material on some of the projects mentioned in the module, especially because some of them are not fully completed. This will provide students with updated information and help them better perform in the assessment and gain a more complete understanding of the material.

What students found tough and how we adapted to that:

Students who did not thoroughly read the text, examine the images and look at the accompanying external links had the most problems with the module. These students were unable to relate concepts to one another and consequently had difficulties completing some of the assessments that sought to develop a comprehensive view of how building with nature really works. A greater emphasis was placed on examining these materials.

Reflections on Assignments

Formative Assessment: Development of Smart Building for a Rapidly Growing Coastal Community

Students did not experience any difficulty understanding what to do in this assessment. Some students expressed that knowing more about the location of the city (region) they were working on would have helped. The team has decided to mention in the assessment that the area is Tampa Bay, especially because most of the information provided in the assessment is in fact real census data and topography from the area. Also, knowing what area students are working on allows them to make better decisions drawing from knowledge they gained from other modules that cover risk and vulnerabilities. It may be important to allow some flexibility as to what data students can use to complete this assessment, and in the future expand the options (i.e. using the vulnerability tool?). UNO students did very well in this assignment.


Assessment

Formative Assessment

References and Resources

Student Readings:

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »