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Societal Resilience
Stewardship of Nature

Growing Together: A Community-Based Initiative for Greening, Health, and Nutrition

A tray of tomatoes

Poor air quality and rising heat stress exposure have critical environmental health impacts in both indoor and outdoor environments. This project is led by Dorit Aviv, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Weitzman School of Design, and Akira Drake Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Weitzman School of Design, together with Penn alumni Mrinalini Verma, Anna Balfanz, and Corey Wills. It aims to address air quality, public health, and science education by creating and supporting university-school-community partnerships that enhance educational outcomes for local middle and high school students, as well as Penn graduate students.

Growing Together became a Research Community in 2021 with programming focused on food sovereignty and access, public health, and science education, which led to improved cooperation and trust in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood. This year, the team addresses new community health concerns using design interventions. A team of experts from the Weitzman School of Design, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, Temple University faculty, the Clean Air Council, and more collect and analyze data from monitoring tools to understand the effects green infrastructure best management practices have in urban settings, visualize this data to make it accessible, and continue to engage school students and teachers in the processes of data collection and visualization and applying the scientific method to real-world problem-solving.

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Previous Communities

"Very sunny in my classroom all day; it is hot inside the classroom in warm months and cold during the winter months; Little greenery to enjoy." - Anonymous