Place Studies

Imagine ~ Sustain ~ Understand ~ Engage

Category: Sustainable Places (page 2 of 3)

Place Studies Summer Projects: Genuine Progress Indicator

This summer, Zach Moon worked on the creation of a Genuine Progress Index for Pennsylvania, the first of it’s kind.

A Genuine Progress Index, or GPI for short, is a metric used to measure the health of a nations economy. While it is similar to the more commonly known GDP (Growth Domestic Product), the GDI takes into account environmental and social factors that GDP does not include. It allows us to know whether the environmental impact of the production of goods and services hurts or helps the economy.

The GDI measures sustainability over time, and it doesn’t just add in finished products but also subtracts costs that affect sustainability over time. Such as the costs of commuting, and the cost of air pollution.

With the creation of the GPI for Pennsylvania, Zach says we must now ask ourselves, “Can we scale our index down to measure regional and local sustainability in a quantitative way?”

Place Studies Summer Projects: Geographic Information Systems

This summer, Alexa Gorski and Henry Stann completed archival research to create, for the first time, a map of Native American locations within a five mile corridor of Susquehanna River’s West Branch. Alexa and Henry found the locations of the sites, and created the GIS map to make finding the sites on a map more accessible. The map will also provide background about each of the sites. It is designed so that when one clicks on a specific location, there will be a description on the region that the viewer can read to get more information.

The project was on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Conservancy, who wanted to update the John Smith National Historical Trail with information on the history of the Susquehanna River. There had not been previous research done on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, therefore not much was known on the history of the region. The research unveiled the history of the Native Americans, conflicts and relationships between groups of people and people and the environment. Alexa and Henry uncovered Moravian diaries, old county histories, and the works of JF Meginness to aid them in their research.

Alexa and Henry hope to continue working on the interactive map and add on more locations. They are also working on the development of a self tour app that will allow people to learn more about a site when they are at that location.

View the research poster completed by Alexa and Henry here: Poster

Place Studies Summer Projects: An Evaluation of the 2013 ACA implemation

The ACA, or Affordable Care Act, is a new national health law that has been only implemented recently. This summer, Collin Greene and Will Rappaport focused their research on an evaluation of the ACA in the central Pennsylvania region, in hopes of exposing the glitches that will make the second year of enrollment in 2014-2015 much improved.

In their pursuit of answers, Collin and Will contacted heads of organizations such as United way, Columbia County Volunteers in Medicine, PA Mental Health Association, and the Lewisburg Library, and conducted interviews in person. They found that there were many challenges in enrollment that individuals faced, such as low literacy levels, lack of transportation, lack of prior knowledge of healthcare, and distrust of the government. Their findings through these interviews facilitated their project design, and fabrication of components that will improve the educating of individuals, so that the second year of enrollment will be more sufficient.

The pair came up with ideas that they believe will improve the second year of enrollment, one of which will be pursued with the grant they were given. One idea was to set up a comprehensible and more simplistic website, tailored for those with below average reading levels. In order to educate those with a lack of knowledge of healthcare, they also suggest a video tutorial that would be presented at workshops, a project that will be initiated with the grant they received.

With their project rolling and in execution, Collin and Will believe that reaching out, and educating people on the ACA and means of enrollment will save and improve lives. While some may not believe in the ACA, the program is still out there for use, and the more people who know about it and know how to enroll, the more lives that will be saved whether they believe in it or not.

Read the report Will and Collin’s research contributed to here:  The-Central-PA-ACA-Project

Place Studies Summer Projects: Saints of Coal Township

The sisters of St. Casimir are a community of women religious, a congregation founded by Venerable Maria Kaupas in 1907. To this day they continue the mission of Mother Maria Kaupas: ministering in the United States and across the world, and their faithful involvement in education, social justice ministries, parish, and health care, with a focus and commitment to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged.

This summer, Jen Bush focused her research on Mother Maria Kaupas, and her fellow sister of Saint Samir, creating an ethnographic documentary that would capture their stories. She began by familiarizing herself with ethnographic film documentaries, and then practiced using the video equipment and editing software that she would need to progress her project.

By the end of the summer, she was able to conduct four interviews with two of the sisters at the Motherhouse of Saint Casimir in Chicago Illinois, as well as two individuals in Mt. Carmel, PA.

Through the project, she wishes to preserve the history of Mt. Carmel, and the influential work that the sisters of St. Casimir have done in their surrounding community, in the United States, and across the world.

The Affordable Care Act Progress

Published Articles:

Happy Photos:

group photo

ACA ©2013 Standard Journal

 

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