WHO WE ARE
BLUElabMetro (BLUEM) is a multidisciplinary design student organization dedicated to serving our local community of southeastern Michigan under the tenets of sustainability and socially-engaged design.
As an affiliate of the University of Michigan and peers of the other BLUElab project teams, we are made up of dedicated problem-solvers working for the betterment of communities around the globe.
WHAT WE DO
BLUEM focuses first on co-design through cooperation with our community partners in all projects. To do this, we follow the fundamentals of socially-engaged design: an iterative process where community members are at the center of the decision-making, problem identification, and development of solutions. To maximize the effectiveness and impact of our work, we incorporate the environmental, human, social, and economic aspects of sustainability. Using these techniques leads to designs with greater contextual awareness and a greater chance of long-term success.
Our team is currently pursuing projects that contribute to achieving the University's carbon neutrality goals and reducing Ann Arbor’s carbon footprint. Using socially-engaged design processes, we are developing projects in three sub-areas:
The stormwater management subteam is currently drafting designs for a rain garden at a local site in Ann Arbor. After the completion of this project, they will begin designing buffer strips to prevent overflow in retention ponds in Washtenaw County, and they plan to assist with the construction and planting of these buffer strips next fall.
The canopy cover subteam is working to add additional canopy cover to both the U-M Ann Arbor and Flint campuses to reach the University’s goal of 60% canopy cover. Increased canopy cover provides many sustainability benefits, including biosequestration, drainage and runoff prevention, and lowered energy costs.
The food waste subteam is currently exploring projects in food waste by interviewing different stakeholders to understand how the University handles its waste, analyzing strategies to increase efficiency in the future.