CHUD Fellows are involved in both research and creative scholarship. A few of our recent projects are described belows, some with links to full reports or other media.
CHUD fellows Shannon Van Zandt, Cecilia Giusti, and June Martin, along with colleague Dawn Jourdan from the University of Oklahoma and doctoral student Ed Tarlton conducted a five-year evaluation of Beaumont, Texas' HOPE VI housing redevelopment project.
The researchers found that the direct impacts of the grant program have been extraordinary. The physical redevelopment of the sites, the building of community among neighbors, and particularly the building of networks and capacity among community partners are truly impressive. These bode well for a successful, sustainable community that serves the needs of both original and new residents.
The spillover effects, however, have been stymied by an economy in recession. While much of Texas has had milder impacts than some parts of the country, Beaumont has experienced effects much more like those of the harder-hit parts of the country. Beaumont has long been a more depressed economy than most of metropolitan Texas, and this has been reflected in the many economic and revitalization indicators that we have examined, such as lower than average wages, higher unemployment, and lower than average property values.
This fall students in a Texas A&M graduate architecture studio led by CHUD Fellow Peter Lang prepared prototype low-cost housing solutions for long-term inhabitants of some of the world's largest refugee camps, which they plan to present for consideration to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.
The students' low-cost solutions incorporated imaginative use of readily available building materials unique to each camp. Structures suggested for desert environments, such as the Dabaab camps in Kenya for Somalian refugees, used sand bags, tarpaulins and repurposed freight containers. Building solutions for the Iridimi camp serving Dafur refugees in Chad used woven straw and bricks fashioned from the surrounding soil. For refugees from Burma living at the Mae La camp in Thailand, students selected bamboo as the building material of choice.
Watch a video here.
Students from all disciplines at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture will design and build a single-family residence during the 2012-2013 academic year in a subdivision near downtown Bryan as part of the new collegewide Real Projects initiative, led by CHUD fellows Mark Clayton and Geoffrey Booth.
Students are partnering with the Brazos Valley Affordable Housing Corporation to design and construct a home in the Falls Creek Ranch subdivision, a relatively undeveloped area with a rural flavor approximately three miles northwest of downtown Bryan.