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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2015 Abstracts

DesignbuildBLUFF: A Framework for Sustainable Dev elopment in the Nav ajo Nation

Erika Longino, University of Utah


DesignbuildBLUFF is a development program wherein graduate architecture students apply custom designing and construction skills to make homes for Navajo families and individuals in need. 39% of the Utah reservation is under the poverty line and the whole Colorado Plateau is in an ecologically vulnerable position. There is clear evidence that water tables are dropping and native biodiversity is suffering because of anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, the human communities in the region are especially needful of proper infrastructure for sustainable development. DesignbuildBLUFF provides diverse services to many groups. The aim of this investigation is to map a framework for sustainable expansion and overall systematic improvement. The investigation will eventually produce a document outlining the inputs and outputs of DesignbuildBLUFF, environmentally and socially. Ecological components like soil quality, solar potential, rainfall, and plant inventory are noted and analyzed quantitatively. Social impacts are gathered using interviews and census data. The data is pulled together in a cohesive, aesthetic map and used to plan DesignbuildBLUFF’s trajectory. The document will provide a clear framework for acknowledging and eliminating unnecessary features, reducing the ecological footprint of the organization, and improving important social relations. This document is not a definitive “master plan”, rather it provides the necessary data and suggestions for growth that take into account whole systems thinking.