May 24, 2019
Four College of Environmental Design graduate students were recently awarded first place for their exceptional “Big Ideas” as part of UC Berkeley’s annual contest recognizing interdisciplinary student teams whose projects aim to solve “big” problems.
Architecture alumnus Aboubacar Komara (B.A. in Architecture ‘18), recent Master of Architecture graduate Matt Turlock (M.Arch '19, M.Eng) and Master of City Planning graduate Matt Fairris (M.C.P. ‘19) and were part of a team that won first place in the “Art & Social Change” category for their low-income, sustainably built housing project.
Their “Big Idea,” Kaloum Bankhi, focuses on the construction of a durable and culturally appropriate housing unit for residents in Guinea. The concept was conceived by Komara following an architecture studio prompt to design sustainable and adaptive one-room dwellings.
Sarah Lebu (M.C.P.-M.P.H. ‘20) was part of a two-person team awarded first place in the “Scaling Up Big Ideas” category for the project, “Pit Vidura,” which aims to develop a safe, affordable, and reliable pit latrine emptying service that serves low-income households in dense urban areas of Kigali, Rwanda.
In rapidly urbanizing areas, small exhauster truck businesses are unable to keep up with the demand for pit latrine emptying services due to inefficiencies in their operations. Thus, when a latrine fills in most low-income urban areas, manual emptiers use buckets to empty the waste and dump it in the environment. This results in high rates of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Pit Vidura enables sanitation service providers to grow their businesses by improving the efficiency and profitability of their daily operations.
Read more about the winning teams and their projects online on the Big Ideas website.