Reconnecting People and Place (RPP) is an interdisciplinary program addressing sustainability, housing and community. It includes students from Ball State University and TEC de Monterrey, Mexico. Through the program, students gain understanding of place and people, place-based decisions, and how to help communities learn to interconnect with each other and their place through sustainable community development, planning and design.
The program provides opportunities for learning about sustainability in culturally and environmentally diverse regions. It includes learning about urban and cultural history (pre-Columbian, colonial, contemporary), diverse development traditions (informal, progressive, incremental), and indigenous production systems (water harvesting; using local earth-, fiber- and waste-based materials; self-help construction). It enhances student understanding of interrelationships among urban planning/design, architecture and culture; local resource flows and community development, building in economically-challenged communities, and human and professional relations.
The program includes study of regionally-appropriate development, and construction techniques and buildings produced by the TEC Master of Urban Sustainability Program. These buildings, made from earth-, fiber- or waste-based materials, are learning modules that are often deconstructed and reconstructed as part of the RPP experience. Materials and techniques developed and refined at the TEC during the year are used by the Reconnecting People and Place summer design-build programs.
In the RPP program, materials removed from the TEC campus (as part of its continual campus maintenance, upgrade and improvements) are stockpiled at a campus-based recycling research lab created and managed by the TEC co-directed of the BSU-TEC Reconnecting People and Place design-build program. These materials are a source of materials interconnected with regional life-cycle materials and resource flows. They serve as resources for RPP projects as cost-effective solutions for economically challenged communities, while integrating community development sustainably into local life-cycle resource-flows.