Week 2 – Detroit Community-Engaged Research Program

Week 2

As time passes, I am starting to get more and more used to the routine of being in Detroit: driving, working, cooking, and the crowds. Additionally, I’m gaining a much better understanding of the scope of what EcoWorks does and some of the bigger projects they are working on. Overall I would say that their goal is to develop a sustainable Detroit that uses energy efficient systems and clean energy. They work often work very closely with the government of Detroit and other organizations with similar missions to accomplish this goal. A lot of what they do has to do with replacing old, inefficient technology with newer equipment. For example, they have a fridge exchange program in which residents can replace their old fridge with a new energy efficient one, saving them money and using less energy.

I’m still not entirely sure what my summer project will be, but it will most likely focus around the greenhouse gas emission inventory that EcoWorks is conducting in Ypsilanti. What we are essentially trying to do is determine the levels of greenhouse gases in various parts of the city and then determine the source of these emissions. The source is typically broken down into commercial, residential, transportation, and industrial. By doing this, the city is able to determine what aspects of the city are releasing the most emissions and then take the appropriate actions to reduce this source. A large, time consuming part of my project will be collecting data regarding the emissions.

To begin this process, my supervisor had me research a variety of GHG inventory tools to determine the best way to calculate or measure the emissions in the city. As someone who has practically no experience with this work, I learned a lot, and had a much better understanding of how this work is done and the benefits of completing this work. While I’m still not an expert by any means, I’m excited to learn more and also be able to explore the city of Ypsi and help them reduce their carbon footprint.

My first week in Detroit has been a very new experience in my life, but I’m finally starting to feel more comfortable in the city. When I first arrived, I was quite intimidated by the scale and speed of the area, it was something I was not accommodated to at all. But after spending some time here I have begun to understand how to move around the city and what the overall culture is like. One thing that continues to impress me is the variety and quality of the architecture here. Even the very old, rundown buildings have very impressive designs, and no two buildings are alike. This is especially prominent on the Wayne State campus with a variety of buildings designed by the renowned architect Minoru Yamasaki.

Overall, the experience of living and working here has felt “necessary”, or at least that’s the best word that I can think of. This is such a new experience and being forced to live and work in new conditions and with people I don’t know has forced me to learn skills that I generally don’t need. Such as talking to new individuals, being able to make simple small talk, being responsible with myself and my belongings. Being here seems like a transition into a more responsible living style that could open up some very helpful opportunities in the future.

1 thought on “Week 2”

  1. Josephine Kate Graham

    Hello Brandon! Again, I love hearing about how your passion for architecture influences and manifests during your time here in Detroit. Secondly, you and your organization are doing such important work, given the current state of our planet and the present, plus future effects being predicted, concerning climate change. I hope you recognize your work is helping to combat this huge issue, which is truly incredible. Lastly, I feel the same way when it came to your last paragraph. This summer is one of the biggest growth experiences I have had so far in my brief time being an actual adult.

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