Baptist Town Neighborhood reinvestment project featured in Delta Business Journal

April 7th, 2016 Comments Off on Baptist Town Neighborhood reinvestment project featured in Delta Business Journal

image via deltabusinessjournal.com

image via deltabusinessjournal.com

By Angela Rogalski | Delta Business Journal

Baptist Town, about a mile east of downtown Greenwood, is a community that is solidly defined by its history and the common bond of its residents. Born in the 1800s, it is one of Greenwood’s oldest African American neighborhoods and is steeped in the rich culture that is the Mississippi Delta. Honeyboy Edwards and Robert Johnson were known to frequent Baptist Town during their lifetimes and it’s written that Edwards called it “the final residence of Robert Johnson” since the legendary Blues singer spent some of his last days in and around Baptist Town.

Today the community is going through a promising re-flourishment as the Baptist Town Neighborhood Reinvestment Project, planned in 2000, is still underway. Emily Roush-Elliott, a social impact architect, has been a long-time participant in the project.

“For the last three years I was an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow, which was a wonderful position with the Greenwood, Leflore, Carroll Economic Development Foundation,” Roush-Elliott says. “The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship partners early-career architectural designers with local community development organizations, where they facilitate an inclusive approach to development to create green, sustainable, and affordable communities. And even though I am no longer a Fellow, my work has actually continued. I still do about half-time, but have also had the opportunity to branch out and start my own design-build practice with my husband. So, we’re continuing the work I started as a Fellow most of the time, but also doing other projects as well.”

Roush-Elliott explains that Baptist Town history has deep roots and is very important to the city of Greenwood.

“Baptist Town is a neighborhood and not its own town at all; it’s part of Greenwood,” she explains. “We know that it’s at least 135 years old and is probably one of the first places where African Americans could own property in Mississippi after slavery ended. So, it has a really long history and is very important.”

While Baptist Town isn’t known for its economic wealth and prosperity, Roush-Elliott says it has so much more embedded within its historical core and is rich in many ways other than money.

“When newspapers write about Baptist Town it always makes me cringe, because invariably someone calls it this impoverished neighborhood. And I wish that they would clarify and say economically impoverished, because it is; from a financial and wealth standpoint it struggles, but from every other value standpoint, the more important ones, such as people taking care of each other, community identity and history and culture, it’s incredibly rich. It’s a wonderful neighborhood and has been studied by a lot of different people. Robert Johnson spent time in Baptist Town; part of the movie “The Help” was filmed there, so there’s a lot of tourism attractions to the community, which sometimes is a negative thing.”

In 2000, students from the Carl Small Town Center, which is a community design center out of the Mississippi State University School of Architecture, came over to Baptist Town and worked with the community and did architectural planning studies to determine the primary needs and goals of the neighborhood and come up with solutions.

“That was the beginning of the relationship between the Mississippi State University School of Architecture and the Carl Small Town Center and the Economic Development Foundation here in Greenwood,” Roush-Elliott says. “So years later, they partnered again and students came back and re-studied the neighborhood and created a masterplan with the community; they really specialize in listening and having community engagement sessions.”

The community had some top priorities for Baptist Town, such as rehabbed and new housing; a community center; safer and better-looking entryways; a playground and parks. And all of these things became part of the masterplan.

“The Carl Small Town Center got together with the Greenwood, Leflore, Carroll Economic Development Foundation and applied to Enterprise Community Partners for an Enterprise Rose Fellow and they were awarded that fellow,” she says. “My husband and I had been working on rural development in Tanzania and we were looking to come back to the States and apply the things that we’d learned over there. So, when this opened up, we applied and we got it and we’ve been really working and focusing on Baptist Town since 2013.”

It was a three-year fellowship and with some funding that was already in place, Roush-Elliott, along with the Greenwood partners, was able to accomplish almost the entire masterplan that had been laid out years earlier.

“Five homes were rehabbed and we’re working on a couple of more now,” she says. “We did 11 new affordable homes and sold them to families who lived in the neighborhood for a cost that fit within their budgets. We purchased a building and rehabbed it for a community center that is open. It offers job training now and will offer other things in the future. We did street lights, sidewalks and signage, and landscaping at all of the entryways. We built two parks and one of them includes a playground.”

Roush-Elliott says those are the tangible things the project has been able to accomplish, but more than that are the relationships that have formed between the city and the people who live in Baptist Town.

“We’re most proud of the changes in people’s lives that we’ve seen,” she adds, “the things that the residents have been able to accomplish all on their own. The homeowners who are all first-time buyers, mostly people a little older in age who have never been able to own their own home before, are now doing it and it’s great. And none of it was gifted; they’re buying their homes. Whatever we invested to develop the home is what the mortgage became.”

John Poros was a teacher at the Mississippi State University School of Architecture and part of the original team that began the planning stages of the project in 2000. Today, Poros is the director of the Carl Small Town Center and is still involved with the ongoing improvements.

“The project got started with Fred Carl of Viking Range Corporation in Greenwood,” Poros says. “And Fred brought us (The Mississippi State School of Architecture) to the neighborhood back then and we had an architectural design studio that looked at the neighborhood then and the Carl Small Town Center gave a report on the project, but unfortunately at that time, we couldn’t get any traction with the project.”

Poros says a few years later, when all of the current partners got involved, they began to see the project move forward.

“The masterplan that we came up with actually won a National American Planning Association Award and once that happened we were able to get funding from the Foundation for the Mid- South, which was about $300,000. Then we were able to move forward and start the work in the neighborhood. That’s when I knew that we had to get Emily Roush-Elliott involved, and on behalf of the Carl Small Town Center, I applied for the Enterprise Rose Fellowship.”

Poros said the Center’s involvement with the project is still strong. “We at the Carl Small Town Center have been working with Emily over the past three years, during her Fellowship to help. Right now, we’re partnering with her to get smaller projects done in the neighborhood by bringing students or faculty members in to help. It’s been an incredible experience and really what you love to see if you’re doing community design. When you can really affect people’s lives and see those results, such as the first-time homeowners; it’s great.”

Alice Leflore is a Baptist Town resident and has been for most of her life. She’s also chair of the management board for the Baptist Town Community Development Center.

“Baptist Town is my home and I have lived there for the majority of my life,” Leflore says. “All of us who live there have always wanted to see our neighborhood improved and revived. It’s our home and we knew what it had once been before the deterioration begun in the late 90s and early 2000s. So, I wanted the neighborhood to be improved and to have the same pride, if not more, than it once had.”

Leflore welcomes the changes that she has seen since the project began and hopes that the progress continues.

“One of the things that I love is the fact that for most of the people in the homes, this is the first time they have ever owned their own home,” Leflore says. “And it’s a really wonderful thing for them. Unfortunately, we have had three people to pass away since they moved into their own home, but I am thankful that they died owning that home that they never thought they would. And I’m happy that we’re on our way to accomplishing the things that we set out to accomplish. We are non-profit now at the Center, so we can go after more programs to assist people and get more things started. So, we are moving forward.”

Mississippi State University research center receives national American Planning Association award

March 8th, 2016 Comments Off on Mississippi State University research center receives national American Planning Association award

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The Carl Small Town Center has been awarded the 2016 American Planning Association (APA) Small Town and Rural (STaR) James A. Segedy Award for Outstanding Student Project for its planning work for the community of Houston, Miss.

The Mississippi State University research center hosted a workshop in February 2014 as part of the Citizen’s Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), which served to gather ideas from the Houston community and its leaders about the Tanglefoot Trailhead® in Houston. Houston is the southernmost community along the 44-mile-long Tanglefoot Trail®, a cycling/pedestrian pathway that runs from New Albany south through Pontotoc and Chickasaw Counties. Students helped prepare interactive activities, plans and maps and facilitated group table discussions at the three-day CIRD workshop.

A main goal of the workshop was to create a plan to designate a new pavilion location at the trailhead, as well as lead visitors from the trailhead to Houston’s downtown area and also to connect the trail to the nearby Natchez Trace Parkway.

The planning workshop was themed: “Start Dreaming, Houston…” The result was a swell of momentum to capitalize on the new trail and all its potential for the community.

“Our students gained immeasurable experience in community engagement and developing leadership skills while helping facilitate the design workshop,” said Assistant Director of the Carl Small Town Center Leah Kemp. They also gained exposure to national experts and worked alongside them, which they really enjoyed.”

The center has since designed a pavilion for the site, which is scheduled to be constructed in spring 2016.

“The people of Houston are making big strides to put the workshop plans into action, and we have enjoyed working with them to make it happen,” said Kemp.

The workshop was funded by a 2014 CIRD Award funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and Houston was one of just four communities nationwide to receive the funding.

The James A. Segedy Award is given annually to recognize an outstanding project by a graduate or undergraduate class or individual that addresses a planning issue facing small town or rural areas.

“This award is one of many recent awards that recognizes the work of the Carl Small Town Center to develop and implement design projects for small towns and communities in Mississippi,” said College of Architecture, Art and Design Associate Dean Greg G. Hall, Ph.D., AIA, NCARB. “The Houston planning workshop serves as an example of ways in which the center supports the mission of the university to serve the development of the state through teaching, research and service.”

The award will be presented at the STaR Business Meeting on Sun., April 3 during the National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Ariz. The Houston Trailhead project will be highlighted at the meeting and featured in a STaR newsletter article.

The Carl Small Town Center is a nonprofit community design and outreach component of the College of Architecture, Art and Design and its School of Architecture. The research center works to help improve the quality of life and create economic opportunity in small towns by improving their physical environments. For more information on the center, visit carlsmalltowncenter.org.

See the story at msstate.edu

See the story in the Mississippi Business Journal.

Energy-efficiency study leads to weatherization efforts in Baptist Town

February 5th, 2016 Comments Off on Energy-efficiency study leads to weatherization efforts in Baptist Town

Chris Johnson | The Fuller Center for Housing

Helping the residents of the historic Baptist Town neighborhood been a passion for Emily Roush-Elliott since she arrived in Greenwood on an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship in 2013 after receiving her master’s of architecture from the University of Cincinnati.

Roush-Elliot

Roush-Elliot

Helping families in need have simple, decent homes has been a passion for the Greenwood/Leflore Fuller Center for Housing since 1985, when it began partnering with homeowner families as a Habitat for Humanity affiliate. (They joined The Fuller Center in 2008.)

Their common interests are why Roush-Elliott — who is hosted by the Greenwood-LeFlore Economic Development Foundation and Carl Small Town Center —  and The Fuller Center have been frequent collaborators in the past few years. And they continue to lead efforts to improve the Baptist Town neighborhood, made famous as the home of blues legend Robert Johnson and the site of filming for the film “The Help,” which brought home the Best Picture Oscar in 2012.

One initiative that has had tremendous impact was the installation of 11 unused MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Management Agency) cottages that were designed for families impacted by Hurricane Katrina. With strong support from the city of Greenwood and approval by the Mississippi legislature, the cottages were turned over to The Greenwood/Leflore Fuller Center, which installed the cottages with a few tweaks and turned them into beautiful, cozy homes for families in need.

“All 11 cottages are fully occupied, and I don’t think we’ve had a single person miss a single payment since we had people move in over a year ago,” Roush-Elliott said. “We’re just looking to have it grow and do more.”

Doing more included using grant money from Enterprise Community Partners to institute such projects in the neighborhood as a storm water management garden, which they also have used to provide on-the-job training for some unemployed women in the community.

Another area of focus in helping residents is energy efficiency. With the help of Emily McGlohn, assistant professor of architecture at Mississippi State University, and her “Audit Squad” of students, they have identified ways in which residents of the Baptist Town neighborhood can save significant amounts of energy — and money — by taking seemingly small steps to make a tremendous difference.

The energy-efficiency study

The Baptist Town community became a significant focal point of McGlohn’s wide-ranging concern for energy-efficiency issues throughout the Mississippi Delta region. This historic neighborhood of Greenwood provided the perfect testing ground with its mix of old homes, newer Fuller Center construction and the Katrina cottages.

“You can always assume new housing is better than old housing, but until you put numbers to it, it’s not as powerful,” McGlohn said. “That’s what we wanted — to be able to quantify the difference and put it into dollars to help people understand how important energy efficiency is in affordable housing.”

McGlohn

McGlohn

Using an array of tools — most notably powerful blower doors and thermal imaging cameras — they studied the 11 cottages’ performance compared to 10 older homes and six Fuller Center homes.

“We had our hypothesis that the cottages would be the most airtight, The Fuller Center homes would be in the middle and the neighborhood homes would be the least,” Roush-Elliott said. “Our hypothesis was certainly proved true, but it was so much more extreme than expected. We were blown away by the unequal distribution of energy costs. It’s a real inequity that we can address.”

“Some of them, we couldn’t even get a read on,” McGlohn said of the older homes in the neighborhood. “They were so leaky that the machine couldn’t even pressurize them.”

They used the test results to determine the personal financial impact of air infiltration alone in trying to maintain a modest home temperature of 65 degrees in December — on top of other factors in heating or cooling a home. They found that air filtration alone cost an average of:

  • $176 a month for the 10 older homes tested, or 14% of a minimum wage earner’s monthly income
  • $88 a month for the 6 Fuller Center homes, or 7% of a minimum wage earner’s monthly income
  • $35 a month for the 11 Katrina cottages, or 3% of a minimum wage earner’s monthly income

“That’s money in your pocket,” McGlohn said. “Housing should be efficient for everyone but especially for those in low-income housing. But it’s not just housing in this sector — we can all do little things to save energy.”

The study’s results, though, are just a starting point.

“It’s great to just swoop in with this information and say, ‘Yeah, your house is leaky,’ but what do you do with that information?” McGlohn asked rhetorically. “The little things that you do really add up in these situations. The solution isn’t always to knock down your house and build a better one. You can fill air gaps and weatherize the house. So we provided weatherization kits for all the homeowners.”

“Emily was able to come back and make recommendations to The Fuller Center about really simple things that they can do throughout the construction process that will save their homeowners more money on the back end on their energy bills,” Roush-Elliott said. “We had a little bit of grant money left so that we could buy a small energy upgrade kit, a little retrofit kit, for everybody who participated. It’s very simple things like caulk and weatherstripping.”

The biggest culprit for the older homes in the neighborhood was window air-conditioning units, something McGlohn said is not unusual for any home with window units.

“We assume that even though homeowners are supposed to take them out in the wintertime, they don’t,” she said. “Those units become like a big hole in the wall, and I’m not sure everybody understands what the effect of that is.”

Roush-Elliott said that her agency is working with The Fuller Center and others to distribute and install covers for the window units in the older homes. She also said that the weatherization study has caught the eye of state officials, who will come to Baptist Town in the near future to discuss major weatherization grants with local residents.

“I’m amazed how many people at the state level have taken note even though this is really small, so I’m hoping that this might grow into something a lot more,” she said, adding that there are plans to follow-up on the weatherization efforts to determine how much they might be saving residents on their energy bills.

Greenwood/Leflore Fuller Center President Rocky Powers praised the work of both Roush-Elliott and McGlohn and said that their research will help as they partner with both existing and future Fuller Center homeowners, in addition to helping facilitate ongoing weatherization efforts for the older homes in the neighborhood.

HUD report on the Baptist Town project.

John Poros featured as ‘Our People’ on university website

January 11th, 2016 Comments Off on John Poros featured as ‘Our People’ on university website

John Poros will attend a conference on rural development at the White House Nov. 17. (Photo by Megan Bean)

John Poros (Photo by Megan Bean)

Via mssate.edu

How architecture looks is only a small part of its purpose, Mississippi State associate professor John Poros said. How it impacts people’s lives is of much greater consequence.

As director for the Carl Small Town Center at Mississippi State, Poros leads a team that includes an assistant director and roughly a dozen undergraduate students in the College of Architecture, Art and Design in developing design service projects in rural communities across Mississippi. Not only do the projects improve aesthetics in those communities, Poros said, they are meant to improve functionality, quality of life and spur economic and cultural development.

“Architecture is changing,” Poros said. “You can’t just sit back in your office and expect commissions to come in. You have to go out and find problems, work with communities to identify priorities and funding, then use your design skills to address the issues. The center, as a whole, introduces students to that ideal.”

A graduate of Columbia and Harvard universities and an MSU faculty member since 1997, Poros assisted with Carl Small Town Center projects for more than a decade before becoming director in 2008.

The center’s work, which began more than 30 years ago, has gained a national reputation. Teams work on several design projects each year across the state, ranging from parks, plazas and public buildings to improvements to historic structures and even entire downtown districts.

In November, Poros accepted an invitation to the White House Convening on Rural Placemaking in Washington, D.C., where he shared stories of the center’s success with public sector officials on the national, state and local levels, as well as representatives of non-profit organizations. The event was co-sponsored by National Main Street Center and Projects for Public Spaces.

Now, he said he wants to widen the center’s reach, building a legacy as a leader in tackling issues of rural sustainability, transportation and regionalism. By improving public infrastructure, transportation and partnering with surrounding communities to draw economic development opportunities, he said Mississippi’s rural communities could greatly increase quality of life for their residents.

This mission is exactly what Poros had in mind when he chose architecture as a career.

“Before I ever went into architecture, I believed it was something meant to work for the public good,” he said. “I found an enormous culture here at Mississippi State for work that does just that.”

MSU architecture team leads weatherization efforts in Delta

December 4th, 2015 Comments Off on MSU architecture team leads weatherization efforts in Delta

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Edward Holmes and Ben Marshall, fourth-year architecture students and members of the Audit Squad, work in Greenwood. (photo via Emily McGlohn)

By Zack Plair | Mississippi State University

A project through Mississippi State University’s School of Architecture is helping make homes in the Mississippi Delta healthier and more energy efficient.

Using funds from the Greenwood Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners, a team from Mississippi State studied air infiltration levels in 27 low-income homes in the Greenwood area during the summer. Starting Monday [Dec. 7], the team will begin the process of weatherizing homes from the study to enable better climate control and reduce homeowners’ utility bills.

Emily McGlohn, an assistant professor of architecture at MSU who is the faculty leader for the study, said the team looked at houses in three categories: 10 older homes built in the 1950s and 60s, six built in the 1980s and 90s, and 11 “Katrina cottages” placed in the Baptist Town area in Greenwood for low-income families within the last 10 years.

Preliminary study results, McGlohn said, showed the most air infiltration in the older homes. That poses a financial and health burden on the residents, she added.

“A home is supposed to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer,” she said. “But in a leaky home, it makes it harder and more costly to maintain those temperatures during those seasons.”

Now that the study is complete, McGlohn’s team – which includes mostly student workers – has secured the labor and materials for basic weatherization at the 27 homes. With the homeowners’ consent, McGlohn said the team could install door sweeps, weather stripping around windows and better insulate areas around air conditioning units in windows that tend to let air into the home. Even those small fixes, she said, could make a big impact.

Further, she is presenting the study results to stakeholders in the Delta in hopes of inspiring a more comprehensive weatherization program and ensuring that low-income homes built in the future are more energy efficient.

Greenwood architect Emily Roush-Elliot, an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow cohosted by the Greenwood Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation and MSU’s Carl Small Town Center, partnered with McGlohn’s team on the project. She said it has already accomplished much, considering its $12,000 budget, and has the potential to accomplish even more.

“Financially, it will help a substantial number of low-income families,” she said. “It’s easy to scale up, too. I hope this is a small first step to so much more.”

Read more about the work.

McGlohn presents study results to housing board of directors

December 1st, 2015 Comments Off on McGlohn presents study results to housing board of directors

Emily McGlohn, assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Mississippi State, recently presented to the Board of Directors of the Greenwood/Leflore Fuller Center for Housing in Greenwood.

McGlohn presented the results of her study, “Energy Efficiency Rates of Low-Income Housing in the Mississippi Delta.”

The study was funded by Enterprise Community Partners and the Greenwood Leflore Carroll Economic Development Foundation.

She worked on the project with Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow Emily Roush-Elliot.

McGlohn will also present the study to the Greenwood Rotary Club at an upcoming meeting.

MSU professor invited to White House conference

November 16th, 2015 Comments Off on MSU professor invited to White House conference

John Poros will attend a conference on rural development at the White House Nov. 17. (Photo by Megan Bean)

John Poros will attend a conference on rural development at the White House Nov. 17. (Photo by Megan Bean)

By Zack Plair | Mississippi State University

A Mississippi State University faculty member has earned an invitation to the White House for a conference focused on better rural development.

John Poros, an associate professor of architecture and director for the Carl Small Town Center at MSU, will attend The White House Convening on Rural Placemaking on Tuesday [Nov. 17]. The event will include federal, state and local public sector officials, national non-profit organizations, foundations and individuals to better align federal, state and philanthropic work to support and leverage the power of “placemaking” – a citizen-led process that helps activate downtowns and community gathering places.

The Carl Small Town Center has worked with Mississippi communities for more than 30 years, said Poros, the center’s leader for the last eight years. He said his team – which includes an assistant director and roughly a dozen undergraduates from the College of Architecture, Art and Design – work on designs for several community projects each year, ranging from parks, plazas and public buildings to improvements to historic structures and entire downtown districts.

“There are so many places in a rural environment that are important and can provide a sense of place,” Poros said. “When you’re talking about public spaces, you’re talking about quality of life issues.”

Most recently, Poros noted, the center designed a park and pavilion for the town of Houston, Mississippi, to anchor the Tanglefoot Trail, a 44-mile bike trail that runs from Houston to New Albany and helps drive tourism in the area. He said the center also has worked with communities such as Corinth, Laurel, Cleveland, Greenwood, Pass Christian and Jackson.

The White House Rural Council is partnering with Project for Public Spaces and the National Main Street Center to host Tuesday’s convening. It represents a new approach, said Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan, in partnering communities with federal resources to create public spaces that generate pride and economic development.

“It’s pretty simple. First, we partner with communities by seeking out their plans or vision. Second, we take a one-government approach that crosses agency and program silos to support communities in implementing their plans for improvement,” Donovan said in an email statement about the program. “Finally we focus on what works, using data to measure success and monitor progress.”

At the Washington convening, Poros said he hopes to share MSU’s knowledge and experience in dealing with rural communities, as well as learn about “common problems” and “common goals” among others attending from across the country. He called it “very heartening” to see the White House administration involved in advancing rural placemaking.

“These types of projects could have an enormous impact on the survival of some of these rural communities,” he said.

For more information on the Carl Small Town Center, visit http://carlsmalltowncenter.org/.

 

David Perkes presents final fall 2015 Harrison Lecture

November 3rd, 2015 Comments Off on David Perkes presents final fall 2015 Harrison Lecture

David Perkes, founding director for Mississippi State University’s Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, presented the final Harrison Lecture for the fall on Fri., Oct. 30, in the Robert and Freda Harrison Auditorium in Giles Hall.

Perkes discussed the work of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and how the research center got its start.

He then used seven social-ecological principals to talk about resilience: maintain diversity/redundancy, manage connectivity, manage slow variables, complex adaptive systems, encourage learning, broaden participation, and promote polycentric governance.

“The work of our time is to figure out how to make resilient communities,” said Perkes, who challenged students to figure out what that means to them and their future work as architects.

Joining School of Architecture students, faculty, staff and friends were MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw and and Associate Vice President for Research J.A. “Drew” Hamilton Jr.

A reception was held after the lecture in the Giles Gallery, which is currently showcasing work from both of the College of Architecture, Art and Design research centers – the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and the Carl Small Town Center – as well as undergraduate research.

Architecture students, faculty hope Delta research will impact state

October 15th, 2015 Comments Off on Architecture students, faculty hope Delta research will impact state

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Edward Holmes and Ben Marshall, fourth-year architecture students and members of the Audit Squad, work in Greenwood.

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When Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow Emily Roush-Elliot recently secured a grant to conduct energy audits on a sample of low income housing in Greenwood, she knew just who to call on – the Audit Squad!

Using equipment she purchased from a previous grant, Assistant Professor of Architecture Emily McGlohn and her students, the Audit Squad, joined with Roush-Elliot to test air infiltration rates of 28 houses in Greenwood.

The group, which includes architecture student research assistants Ashtyn Bryant, Edward Holmes and Ben Marshall, has made six trips to Greenwood to conduct the tests where they are comparing the newly installed Katrina Houses in Baptist Town to a span of similar types of houses built in the area in 50s, 60s and 90s.

“Poor air infiltration rates – how much air passes through the building’s envelope – has monetary and health burdens associated with it,” explained McGlohn. “And a lot of times, low income housing isn’t very energy efficient. Since high air infiltration rates relate to how much heating and cooling you are losing, they also relate to high utility bills,” said McGlohn, “our goal is to identity issues and make recommendations to homeowners for improvements.”

The group is using their results to create “home energy retrofit” kits and a brochure that will explain what is causing higher energy bills and how to install easy fixes provided in the kits. Kits will include items such as caulk, weather stripping, window unit air conditioner covers, etc.)

“One of the biggest issues we see is that homeowners often keep their a.c. units in the window during the winter. So, covers will be included in the kits as an easy fix to help keep some of the heat from escaping,” said McGlohn.

The Audit Squad hopes the information they are gathering will encourage other housing nonprofits throughout the state to invest in home energy retrofits for their clients and to build more efficiently to begin with.

MSU research center fellow selected for prestigious Japanese program

October 1st, 2015 Comments Off on MSU research center fellow selected for prestigious Japanese program

An architect with Mississippi State’s College of Architecture, Art and Design recently returned from a week-long collaborative learning experience in Japan as part of an international group of young professionals.

Emily Roush-Elliott was selected for The Outstanding Young Persons Program of Osaka’s Junior Chamber International organization. She is the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow at the Fred Carl Small Town Center, the research arm of MSU’s School of Architecture.

Since 1981, the Japanese organization has worked “to encourage mutual understanding and communications beyond national frameworks.” Annually, it invites less than a dozen individuals representing a variety of career fields throughout the world to gather, discuss, learn from and encourage each other.

This year’s TOYP program covered a range of critical issues and was designed to expand the participants’ knowledge of and appreciation for the Pacific island nation’s highly evolved culture.

Roush-Elliot expressed appreciation for being selected, adding that she was “particularly excited” about this year’s program theme, “Designing Society for Equity.”

“Utilizing design thinking to respond to the globe’s most complex social equity challenges is at the core of my work and the work of the organizations of which I am a part,” she said.

“It was a great honor to be chosen as a participant. The JCI Osaka members were gracious and attentive hosts who introduced us to Japanese culture while also engaging us around issues of national importance, such as gender inequity and a parallel decline in population and economic growth,” she added.

In 2012, the Carl Center became one of only four national organizations designated to receive an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow.

Roush-Elliot arrived at MSU early the following year and since has lead the Baptist Town Neighborhood Reinvestment project in Greenwood. She holds degrees in design from Arizona State University and architecture from the University of Cincinnati.

During her time in the Leflore County seat, Roush-Elliot has focused on planning and constructing a park, playground, streetscapes and signage. She also has opened a community center and organized participatory activities in the Central Delta community.

Additionally, her multi-disciplinary MSU team had completed an 11-unit modular housing project in which low-income families were able to purchase new homes from the Greenwood-Leflore Fuller Center for Housing.

Roush-Elliot joins nearly 200 that have been selected for the prestigious Japanese program since it was established more than three decades ago. Among others are Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc.; former presidential aide Roger B. Porter; and Cameron Sinclair, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity.

Greg G. Hall, associate dean of MSU’s College of Architecture, Art and Design, was a 1994 selection. He described the program as a valuable opportunity to discuss critical issues with colleagues from around the world, as well as Japanese business leaders.

“We’re excited that Emily was invited to participate,” he added. “Her experience as an architect and her work with the Carl Small Town Center in the Mississippi Delta provide an especially important viewpoint.”

The national Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship was created to provide a select group of the nation’s most outstanding early-career architects with opportunities for first-hand training and experience in sustainable community design work. For more, visit The Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship.

See the article of MSU’s website.

 

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