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Students design sustainable housing for Nicaragua

Kai Keane
Cornell students participate in group activity with San Diego residents.

Fourteen Cornell students recently provided recommendations for sustainable housing in San Diego, Nicaragua, a village of 99 households.

In general, Nicaragua suffers from housing shortages, population growth and increasing rainfall and storms linked to climate changes.

Back in Ithaca, an interdisciplinary team of more than 50 undergraduate and graduate students from such fields as urban planning, horticulture, engineering, anthropology, design and environmental analysis, and architecture are part of Sustainable Neighborhood Nicaragua (SNN), an international project developed by Cornell University Sustainable Design.

In Nicaragua from May 21 to June 1, the SNN team engaged in dialogue with community members and completed a site analysis. This summer, they will work on a design phase of the project that includes a mock-up drawing and digital design of a model house, estimating materials and cost, and raising funds.

Over winter break in December/January, students will build a model house in San Diego. They will also offer recommendations for neighborhood designs, with the hope that their model will provide plans for other communities on how to build sustainable housing that serves local needs.



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