SNN students travel to Mexico to study sustainability

April 18, 2012

An interdisciplinary team of eight Cornell University students traveled to Huatusco, Mexico during spring break to observe and study sustainable technologies. The research trip was made by members of Sustainable Neighborhood Nicaragua (SNN), an international project developed by Cornell University Sustainable Design (CUSD).

Graduate and undergraduate students representing city and regional planning, engineering, horticulture, and landscape architecture visited the small rural town five hours from Mexico City. Their fieldwork was focused in Las Cañadas, an ecovillage within Huatusco. Experience gained from this trip will be applied to a SNN student-led project in San Diego, Nicaragua, which will challenge the students to design a neighborhood model that incorporates sustainable technologies while respecting the surrounding environment and culture.

While in Huatusco, students learned about green technologies and looked to put new knowledge immediately into practice. The SNN members looked into many aspects of local sustainable practices such as energy use, waste management, food systems, graywater systems, and rainwater capture.

Katherine Li (M.L.A. ’13) found inspiration in the green practices. “What made this experience so unique was that we were able to integrate these sustainable methods everyday. We used compost toilets, cooked with wood-fired stoves and solar ovens, and reused the graywater after washing our clothes and dishes,” says Li. Nora Wright (M.R.P. ’13) and Inna Kitachik (M.R.P. ’13) also made the trip.

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