Engineering for Change in Hampton Roads provided students the opportunity to be tourists in their own community, introducing them to the engineering challenges and opportunities of Hampton Roads, shifting their perspective, and deepening their understanding of the importance and relevance of their Fellows work.
Blog post by Frances Harrington, ’19
In the morning, the EDI Fellows took the Norfolk Academy bus to downtown Norfolk. We saw many different buildings and discussed the different time periods in which they were built. Some buildings that were nearby each other were from different time periods, so their designs were totally different. We discussed whether or not people who work in architecture take into consideration the buildings around their construction space when designing a new structure. We also went down by the water and talked about the water levels rising and what Norfolk might do to prevent buildings from being affected by it.
After walking around for a bit, Tropical Smoothie was decided on for a break. Then we walked over to Slover Library. Starting at the top floor, we explored many different rooms. There were many books which were great for researching or just free reading. We also saw study rooms for educational purposes and an area for filming. Closer to the end of our exploration of Slover Lab, we discovered a room full of touch screen panels which could be used to research many different things.
For lunch, we went to California Pizza Kitchen with only about 20 minutes before our meeting. We quickly ordered two pizzas to go and ate them while walking to the Norfolk Public Works building.
Here, we met with many different people who worked for the city of Norfolk by planning what buildings go where and how big they will be. After they finished explaining their different roles, we got to do an activity that was the equivalent to what they do for their jobs.
They gave us an empty lot in Norfolk that used to have a grocery store (which went out of business). Nearby is a relatively low income neighborhood and a bridge. We were split into three groups of two and asked to develop a plan for the developing the land. At the end, each group presented to everyone their ideas while the other two groups represented the neighborhood and the city planning commission (those people deciding whether or not to accept the plan).
Team One, which was Connor Holland and Frances Harrington, decided to build a Harris Teeter in the empty lot along with a Bojangles. The nearest grocery store is quite far away so they decided that a cheaper, closer grocery store might be appreciated as well as a Bojangles. They also decided to put in a trail which they named Turtle Trail. Team Two, which was Patrick McElroy and Nathan Williams, designed a food court with various restaurants and a seating area. Their design featured a large outdoor seating area for people to eat their food and enjoy the view of the outdoors and the river. They called their area Turtle Terrace. Team Three, which was Sebastian Singh and Kevin Smedley, designed a gym with a pool, locker room, and a coffee shop. Outside, they also included a nature trail which led to an outdoor seating area, amphitheater, and a boathouse for members of the gym to go kayaking. They called their design the Turtle Gym. So as you can see, the EDI group is well oriented with turtles. Afterwards, the EDI Fellows rode the Norfolk Academy bus back to the hotel and we went to Roger Brown’s Restaurant, which is a few blocks away, for dinner.