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Located in McGilvrey Hall, the Map Library, one of University Libraries’ four Kent Campus branch locations, is currently the site of a unique course assignment involving concepts of urban sustainability that utilize classic LEGO® sets.
Students enrolled in this fall’s Urban Sustainability course, instructed by Assistant Professor of Geography Jen Mapes, Ph.D., are the first to undertake the LEGO City Project to learn how to apply environmental and social science research to build more sustainable cities. Each week, students add elements to make the city more sustainable, based on the material covered in class. These include green building, transit, walkability, reducing the urban heat island effect, sustainable water systems, improved waste and food systems and reducing the dependence on cars.
The LEGO City Project will culminate with the students integrating these systems and identifying the challenges of implementing the changes, while taking into consideration the social and physical geography of the city and how it is affected by the sustainable urban design priorities.
“Hosting projects like this and working collaboratively with faculty and students from various departments is an integral part of the Map Library and our continued growth,” said Michael Hawkins, head of the Map Library. “We are thrilled to work with Dr. Mapes and her students on this project. I’m excited to see the results!”