The South Central/Thomas Park-Avondale Energy Plan is a project being developed by residents of South Central/Thomas Park-Avondale and Vectren along with Ball State University graduate students from the Department of Urban Planning. The basis of this project is to create an energy plan for a selected region of the South Central and Thomas Park-Avondale neighborhoods in Muncie, Indiana.
During the course of this project the students were innovative in refining the skills learned from their previous experiences along with developing new skills. During the project they were able to develop initiatives for specific goal groups tailored for the specific needs of the neighborhoods in which they were working.
The students working on the project are members of the PLAN 535 Energy Planning, in the Department of Urban Planning at Ball State University. The studio is led by Lisa Dunaway, AICP, LEED AP, an Instructor of Urban Planning. The studio emphasizes immersive learning, also known as service or experiential learning, as defined by Ball State. The goal of the immersive learning project was first and foremost to help a neighborhood prepare an action plan to guide future development and improvements. However, students also learned to think critically and creatively, and how to transform information into knowledge, knowledge to judgment, and judgment into action. This helped students realize the core mission of their undergraduate curriculum. Student learning objectives include:
- Students learned how to inventory an urban neighborhood and identify its strengths and weaknesses.
- Students designed and executed a neighborhood survey to residents.
- Students learned how to analyze both qualitative and quantitative data and transform this into knowledge and information for planning purposes.
- Students learned how to prepare an energy plan.
- One of this plan’s many innovative qualities is how transferable it can potentially be. The techniques and methods used to create the plan can be applied to nearly any other neighborhood or community. The methods the students used have already been successful in creating previous neighborhood action plans for other Muncie neighborhoods.