2015

DOWNSPROUT, A BIOMIMETIC SOLUTION FOR STORMWATER - CHRIS HEPNER (TNS Urban Design '15), TAYLOR DRAKE (TNS Product Design / Environmental Studies BAFA '16)

The DownSprout system is a biomimetic solution that treats rainwater and runoff from roofs in a similar way to a marshland or riparian edge. Through an investigation of these ecological systems in plant species, corresponding root depths, soil types, and hydrologic zones, DownSprout is a system that can be customized to fit into its applied environment while still operating at an optimal level based on its natural systemic inspiration. The system collects stormwater for localized reuse, diverting it from environmentally hazardous combined sewage overflows. DownSprout is made up of three different modules that together comprise the intended phytoremediary function. Given the modularity of the system, the units are able to be replaced, replanted, or repaired, extending the life of the system by making it customizable.

DownSprout engages the community through an interaction with a once invisible (and often hidden) water system. While incorporating aesthetic benefits and ecological functions into the urban environment, DownSprout encourages human involvement with an increasingly valuable resource, acting as a tangible reminder of water conservation. The process involved an investigation of three sites within New York City that represent differing physical typologies and corresponding governance/ownership systems.

Sustainapalooza seed money helped us construct critical models for understanding the project interface, and additionally allowed us to explore materials and soil media. We were able to then use those models to pitch the project and show it at numerous exhibitions.   

Trash Freeway: Naomi Davis (NYU '15) and Jaime Mishkin (NYU '15)

The seed money from Sustainapalooza enabled us to embark on a three month, trash-free, cross-country bike trip, from Virginia Beach to Santa Monica, during which we probed what it meant to be sustainable in every sense of the word. While the ins and outs of our trip were constantly evolving (three months on a bike is filled with many unexpected challenges!), our mission remained the same: complete the journey without creating any waste, as vegans, all while engaging communities across America in dialogue about trash, food waste, and our food choices. Using our online journal, trashfreeway.com, we blogged about not only our exciting daily adventures and the inspiring individuals we were meeting, but we also used our website and social media as a platform to encourage others to make changes in their daily lives and move in the direction of living more consciously and sustainably. The seed money from Sustainapalooza, paired with money raised through crowdfunding, went towards materials, bike supplies, and daily sustenance (though we certainly weren't without an occasional dumpster dive to rescue some perfectly delicious food)!


2014

CELLA, led by Alison Schuettinger (TNS part time faculty & Alum) and Brittney Williams (TNS alum), is a Net-Zero Community Incubator that connects university students to community stakeholders to implement environmentally-benficial projects. 

"The $500 of seed money awarded to our team from Sustainapalooza went directly to funding our end of semester CELLA Bazaar. The Bazaar was an all day (12 -8pm) celebration for partners and all (45) students to be in the same space and commemorate a semester of work and accomplishments.  The event was in the Lutheran Church of Messiah (Messiah) our main partner and client for Spring semester 2014. The basement space of Messiah was transformed into a welcoming event space, designed by Alison Schuettinger and Brittney Williams with the use of donated goods from Materials for the Arts. Students presented and exhibited their work from the semester, followed by yoga and art workshops, a community meal, and dance party. The yoga was facilitated by a New School alumni and yoga instructor, Will Yam.  The arts and crafts workshop, facilitated by a CELLA student from the Global Exchange course, instructed other students and participants on creating recycled paper bracelets to send to victims of the Philippines typhoon in 2013.  After the workshops, students and staff cooked an Emmaus community meal in Messiah's kitchen with produce from the McGlorick Park Farmers Market. Participants enjoyed an intimate meal in the front of the church, parallel to the garden we installed. The community meal was paired with performances and music by a professional DJ, dancer, and beat-boxer from Zulu Nation Collaborative. One of our partners, Van Leeuwen, provided an ice cream truck for the early sessions and two New School Jazz musicians, Joe Vilardi and Michael Beckett performed outside the entrance of the church, welcoming in participants to the CELLA BAZAAR.

It was a great opportunity to close the semester and pay gratitude for the work of our partners: (Messiah, Gaia Institute, EcoStation, Make the Road, to name a few), and our students, (across 3 main courses: Sustainable Urban Communities, Global Exchange, and Sustainable Systems). Within 1 semester, we were able to complete 15 field site visits to Greenpoint, sample soil of 5 homeowner's lots, educate residents on methods of bioremediation, provide a space for students to facilitate workshops, install a garden in Messiah, build a community table for meals by refurbishing unutilized pews from the church, and support Messiah's congregation in it's development as a functional community center.  We did a lot, thanks to Sustainapalooza for allowing us to celebrate our work!"  Visit: http://wearecella.com/


Don'tFlushMe, created by Leif Percifeld (TNS MFA Design and Technology '12), alerts residents of New York City to Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and empowers them to help reduce the amount of pollution in the harbor.

Leif has prototyped a sensor that utilizes an arduino, a proximity sensor, and a cell phone. The proximity sensor measures the water level at the CSO and transmits the data via the cell phone to a database. The information is then shared to the users of the system. The data collected will be available to users on a website, alerts will be sent by SMS, and a prototype of an in-home visualization of the CSO status will be set up.

POLYP, DESIGNED BY STEVEN HUANG (TNs Product Design '14) AND ALYSON MAR  (TNS PRODUCT DESIGN '14), IS AN ALTERNATIVE, BIOMIMICRY-INSPIRED TRASH RECEPTACLE LID, WHICH ALLOWS CERTAIN WASTE IN AND PREVENTS OTHER WASTE FROM FLYING OUT AND POLLUTING NEW YORK CITY'S STREETS.