2021 Project

Team members: Alassane Berte, Zakaria Koumbassa, Stephanie Munoz Camilo, Ousmane Nabe, Israel Segundo

As a result of overcrowding exacerbated by the pandemic and excessive commute times, this group decided to focus their project on community-led transportation alternatives for students and staff, focusing on students who live an hour away or more from the school. Long commutes to school negatively impact students' well-being, including academic performance and health. A longer commute time can have ripple effects on students' economic and social well-being. Additionally, there are safety concerns to teens taking public transit alone.

To investigate this issue further, the fellows conducted a stakeholder analysis to identify the appropriate people and groups who should be included in the initial outreach and who could potentially be impacted and remove barriers to the development of equitable solutions for the long commute times for students and staff.

They launched a community survey that reached over 200 students, staff, and faculty members following the stakeholder analysis. This cohort noticed that the data did not entirely agree with their hypothesis as people stated conflicting arguments to the questions surveyed. They found that people wanted a community-led transportation alternative, but not as a result of tardiness or any effects on their social well-being or ability to lead full lives outside of school.

In conclusion, the cohort deduced that due to the mounting needs across many spheres of people's livelihoods, our perceptions of urban issues that communities face have shifted to focus on more immediate, pressing needs. Rightfully so, students and their families are happy to be returning to normalcy (e.g., Back to school/in-person learning). Given the return to the old normalcy that previously brought many struggles to most students will return with greater potency than before if unaddressed.

Due to the myriad of changes in returning to in-person learning, staffing capacity across the board, and a general sense of burnout, this was shelved like many urban planning projects.