Environmental Sciences


In Winter 2018, eleven students in the GVSU course ENS 401: Environmental Problem Solv-ing played the role of consultants for community partner Viability Lab, LLC, which had de-veloped a grant application titled ShoreLiveCity. A central feature of the ShoreLiveCity project was to improve social equity and environmental justice in access to the Muskegon Lake south shoreline. Historically, such access has been severely restricted for residents in the nearby Nel-son and Nims neighborhoods. ShoreLiveCity proposed to use the Circles of Sustainability planning and implementation framework (2018) to improve access along approximately 500 yards of publicly owned shoreline adjacent to the neighborhoods.

The students and instructor K. Parker followed a design thinking process to approach the problem. They researched the history of the shoreline and the lake to understand the his-torical reasons for restricted shoreline access. They toured the site. They met with residents at two public meetings to gather information about the neighborhoods and about residents’ ex-periences with the shoreline and lake. They researched existing literature on ways to measure social equity/environmental justice. Approximately one month before the end of the class, they met with the community partner to present preliminary findings and possible solutions. Based on feedback from this presentation, they finalized their recommendations and pre-sented these to the community partner at the end of the course.