J500 Media and the Environment


Taking the Student Ghetto to the Ecohood by vincemeserko

Isn’t it time vengeance became environmentally friendly? This is the conclusion I draw driving down Tennessee Street after a concert one night. At the show, a fraternity guy with a disproportionately large head had accidentally spilled beer on me, and because I have no discernible physical strength, I just sucked it up, dried myself off and groveled in the corner. I was in a pretty angry mood driving home that night so I started thinking of some payback schemes, like leveling all the fraternity and sorority houses in the student ghetto and building something cool like a roller coaster on the newly unoccupied land. The roller coaster idea seemed implausible, but I still liked the idea of leveling the buildings. The concept of a large open space in the middle of an aging broken-down neighborhood made this community the ideal setting for my proposal. Let’s turn the student ghetto into an ecohood. Ecohoods are environmentally sustainable neighborhoods borne from the ashes of depressed communities. The student ghetto is hardly a real ghetto, but it is slightly depressing that you only here about it after someone is hit by a car or a shadowy figure brandishing a knife has attacked someone on its dark streets. This community deserves a renovated image, and an ecohood can do just that. Ecohoods typically contain:

-Clustered homes to minimize land usage

-Recycled water systems that funnel sink and shower water to

community crops

-Extensive use of solar energy

-Water purification systems to decontaminate well water

Greenhouses

-Community gardens fertilized by leftover compost

The vast unoccupied field leftover after the Greek houses are razed (14th and Tennessee streets) is the perfect spot for community supported agriculture and sustainable farming. It can act as the ecohood’s centerpiece.

Cooperative housing units such as the Ad Astra House at 1033 Kentucky St. have already started experimenting with an ecohood sustainable design making them logical participants in a future ecohood. These sustainable communities are also becoming increasingly attractive options for students. An ecohood in Prescott, Arizona has become a popular housing alternative for college students unhappy with the dorms.

Ecohoods invite criticism because such an altered lifestyle can seem like a hassle or just another pilot project doomed to fail. In reality, these projects are the perfect avenue for engineering and architecture students (maybe even some of those displaced from our housing destruction) to apply their skills to practical problems. It’s ok if they’re in the pilot phase. While getting beer spilled on me does not make me a de facto urban planner, I know that if Ecohoods can work in Detroit, they can surely work in Kansas.
The appeal of ecohoods is simple: they are fun and they are populated by fun people with curiosity and ingenuity. Check out this guy at the ecohood in Prescott, Arizona:

While I’m half-joking about destroying the Greek housing on Tennessee, there is nothing comedic about the possibility of sustainable alternative housing in the student ghetto … or enacting a little eco-revenge.

More information: www.ecohood.info

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Members of the Prescott ecohood get dirty with Mother Earth.

photo courtesy of: http://www.positivenewsus.org

-Vince Meserko

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1 Comment so far
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I live on Tennessee (not the Greek housing though) and I like the idea of community gardens. Also this is very practical and not much dream, but I want recycle bins in my apartment complex. not only it’s convenient, I think visibility of recycling raises awareness of the environment.

Sachiko

Comment by sachikom




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