The Seventeenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2015
Berkeley Prize 2015

Jennisse Schule Travel Fellowship Proposal

Poverty Can Affect Anyone

Poverty can affect anyone. Women, in particular, can be hit very hard by poverty. According to the National Women’s Law Center in their 2013 report on gender equity in poverty, “Although the economy continued its slow recovery in 2012, poverty rates for most groups were statistically indistinguishable from 2011, leaving poverty among women and children at or near historically high levels. Poverty rates for women were once again higher than for men, and were especially high for women of color, women who head families, foreign-born women, and women 65 and older living alone. The gender wage gap was unchanged for the year and the decade, undermining women’s ability to support themselves and their families. And income inequality remained stark.” (http://www.nwlc.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/final_2013_nwlc_povertyreport.pdf) The next generation of architects, all genders, have an opportunity to make a positive difference in architecture that makes the world an overall better place by reducing poverty, by empowering all humans that they, too, can make a difference. There is a particularly special opportunity to empower women of the world towards this goal. Anchorage, Alaska is far enough away from the contiguous United States that it may feel like a different country but it is very much a part of the United States. Building construction follows the same standard laws regardless of additional expense or difficulty of sourcing materials. The harsh climate adds to the expense of building a home but also complicates the utility and maintenance costs of a home. While Alaska’s poverty rates are lower than the national average at 9.9%, residents own fewer homes than the national average, especially among the Native Alaskans and women. (U.S. Census report 2015) Habitat for Humanity Anchorage (HFHA) was formed in 1991 with the goal of making a difference in Alaska for these very challenges. “Since 1993, HFHA has built 76 new homes and rehabbed 10 Habitat homes, housing 429 individuals including 274 children.” (https://sites.google.com/site/hfhanchoragegv/about-us) While this seems like the idyllic action of architecture reducing poverty, Habitat for Humanity has its critics. As an organization, they have been criticized for not only not providing architecturally sound buildings, but also for building buildings that may be inefficient and therefore, not affordable to maintain for the new residents. Alaska has one of the most difficult climates to build in; Habitat for Humanity Anchorage builds beautiful, functional and efficient buildings. This is HFHA’s fourth year celebrating Women’s Build, a week of an almost all female team building for women and their families. “In 2011, HFH Anchorage began development of a 23-house neighborhood. Since then, most of the homes are occupied, leaving 5 homes to be completed in 2014-1015. Besides new homes, we have [renovated] 5 older homes in the past two years.” (https://sites.google.com/site/hfhanchoragegv/houses-you-will-build-1) The primary reason behind this proposal for the Berkeley Travel Fellowship is simple but profound to me: to be of service to women who want to learn how to build a home or need a home built for themselves and their families. The secondary reason behind this specific proposal is to learn how to build energy-efficient, low-cost homes in a cold weather climate. My home state of Montana has similar demographics and climate; with the information learned in Alaska, I hope to be able to use what I have learned to bridge the gap in affordable housing my own backyard. While there are many in need throughout the world and we are all on this planet as one global family, it is very important to me to help those in need close to where I call home. I chose Alaska as a location in the United States where I might be able to be of service rather than abroad. Specifics of this proposal: As of March 11, 2015, there are only 2 available spots out of 15 in the Woman Build week in early May. There is a second build opportunity in July and while it isn’t specifically a Women’s week, it would afford a similar, and longer, opportunity to be of service and to learn in a larger group of 25. My stated priority would be to attend the Women’s event in May but I would be very grateful for the opportunity to attend either event. I have included information and pricing for both opportunities: Itinerary – Women’s Build Week: May 9, 2015: Fly to Anchorage. Upon arrival, meet the team. May 10, 2015 Sunday, Mother’s Day: Orient to the area and team. May 11 – 15, 2015: Monday through Friday: Assist building. May 16, 2015: Depart for Home or continue on own for more sightseeing and community building) (Itinerary – Alaska Build: July 4, 2015: Fly to Anchorage. Upon arrival, meet the team. July 5, 2015: Orient to the area and team. July 6-11, 2015: Monday through Saturday: Assist building. July 12, 2015: Sightseeing and community building July 13 and 14, 2015 Monday and Tuesday, continue building. July 15, 2015: Depart for Home or continue on own for more sightseeing and community building) Since the HFHA’s goal is to complete all of the buildings during 2015, there is opportunity to stay after each Build Week and volunteer additionally. Costs (Listed in US Dollars): May Women’s Build Week Habitat Registration Fee: $1670.00 Airfare from Kalispell, Montana (FCA) to Anchorage, Alaska (ANC)= $540.00 Total cost of May Women’s Build Week: $2210.00 http://www.habitat.org/gv/trip/GV15056 Costs for July Build Week+ Registration Fee: $1730.00 Airfare from Kalispell, Montana (FCA) to Anchorage, Alaska (ANC)=$590.00 Total cost of July Build Week+: $2320.00 Upon return to school in the fall of 2015, it would be an honor to provide a lecture to any interested student not only on what I have learned during the Berkeley Essay Prize Competition and Travel Fellowship opportunities but also, of the opportunities and responsibilities, if you will, for the next generation of architects. Specifics of the trip and Habitat for Humanity Anchorage would be a platform to speak and address a larger issue that we all can make a difference in our own backyards. Poverty can affect anyone, but it does not need to continue to do so.


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Using new SIP panels for more efficiency.
Using new SIP panels for more efficiency.
Women of Women Build
Women of Women Build
Women Build
Women Build
One of the family's helped.
One of the family's helped.
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