A Home for People and Planet: Assessing the Feasibility of Sustainable Affordable Housing by Designing a Proof-of-Concept

Head shot of Jennifer Mynard

Name: Jennifer Mynard
Majors: Art History, Environmental Studies
Advisors: Susan Clayton, John Siewert

Most Visually Appealing Poster Award

Human existence is increasingly characterized by the built environments we inhabit. The homes we live in are traditionally built to service the needs of their human inhabitants, often neglecting their interaction with the larger environments they are situated in. Housing is a major contributor to the advancement of climate change, which poses an existential threat to all organisms on Planet Earth. Throughout their lifespans, housing uses massive amounts of energy and materials and produce significant waste. Although there is a field dedicated to developing sustainable architecture and housing, those buildings are inaccessible to the general public due to their pricing. Therefore, there is a need for housing that is both affordable and sustainable. To test the feasibility of this issue, this project aims to create a proof-of-concept situated in Wooster, Ohio. This proof-of-concept design takes direction from the fields of Biomimicry, Biophilic Design, Earthship Design, Prefabrication, and incorporates insights from interviews conducted with people living in Earthships to identify the best accessible design options from a variety of fields. Biomimicry and Biophilic Design are well established fields within the study of sustainable design while Earthships are a more radical approach to sustainable housing. By interviewing residents of Earthships to understand what makes these homes appealing and what might make them distasteful to traditional homeowners. The final design is a modular, prefabricated sustainable home which is affordable by the standards of Wooster, OH. This model was developed with the intention of creating an attractive home, that integrates considerations of its environmental impact while being simple to purchase, assemble, and live in. This study provides a view of sustainable housing that is both foundational in theory and informative towards future projects.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 13, 2023.

4 responses to “A Home for People and Planet: Assessing the Feasibility of Sustainable Affordable Housing by Designing a Proof-of-Concept”

  1. Prof. John Siewert says:

    Congratulations one more time, Jen! Your poster is very effective (nice use of color, which makes your choice of The Gherkin as a visual example particularly appropriate). You should take great pride in all you’ve accomplished with your I.S. and in your time at Wooster!

  2. Tracy Cosgriff says:

    What an interesting project, Jen! I still remember fondly the conversations we had years ago about art and the environment – you have found a rich and timely avenue for pursuing these interests thoughtfully, and for the good of your community. Brava!

  3. Jodi Robison says:

    Hi Jen! I’m so glad you could spend some time in the Ebert Digital Lab on your project. Your bold adventure into 3-D design software has prepared you for confident next steps. Wishing you many successes on such an important path!!

  4. Mary Neagoy says:

    Congratulations on your IS, Jen. I really enjoyed hearing you talk about it today in the Scot Center. Terrific poster too.

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