The 2013 WSSS Practicum
The WSSS Practicum is a chance for WSSS students to work in a small group on the integrated assessment of a water resources case study. The goal of the practicum is to expose students to the techniques and processes of integrated water resource managment in order to train them as researchers and professionals. The 2013 WSSS Practica are on the Mystic River in Malden and in the Lajee Center of Aida Camp in Palestine. Both practicums expand on work done in previous years both around the Mystic River and on the West Bank. The Practica are part of the WSSS P-track (see program requirements) headed by Rusty Russell of the Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Department with support from other participating WSSS faculty.
Malden River Practicum: Mystic River Watershed Association (MyWRA)
Planning for Public Access and Amenities Along the Malden River
In 2012-2013, a group of seven graduate students from two Tufts schools laid the foundation for a long-term strategy to reimagine and recreate the Malden by turning it into an attractive urban recreation and conservation space. The Practicum team last year helped to bring together and energize a new citizen action group, Friends of the Malden River.
The Malden River lies within a densely-populated urban landscape. The river’s surrounding cities, Everett, Malden and Medford (total population, 160,000), are home to sizable, under-served environmental justice communities. This year's project, which will be completed as either a WSSS practicum or as a UEP field project, will be undertaken in direct collaboration with one of our partners, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), but also by working closely with the Friends of the Malden group and with the Tri-City Community Action Program (Tri-CAP), which has deep roots in all three cities and long experience in the anti-poverty and environmental justice areas. The goal of this project, sponsored by the Mystic River Watershed Association, a nonprofit advocacy group, will be worked out in more detail by participants this autumn. But a major element could be the development of an updated greenspace plan for the entire river, along with a public access plan and strategy – encompassing walkers, cyclists and drivers (including parking). Urban justice would be a key focus here. Additionally, the project might develop strategies to promote public activism and municipal cooperation (the river is fronted by three cities), which would advance the goal of turning the river into an urban playground. Finally, the Practicum might consider issues posed by/strategies for contaminated sediment remediation near existing or planned public access points. Skills covered include: water research, urban planning, environmental justice, GIS mapping, public access planning, greenspace development, water pollution and contaminated soils assessment.
Palestine Practicum: Lajee Ceter of Aida Camp
Water Politics and Economics in the West Bank - Part II
This interdisciplinary team of graduate students will return to the Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem in the West Bank to continue the WSSS program’s work on drinking water contamination there. The scope of the project will be developed this autumn, in conjunction with Lajee Center (the camp’s nonprofit advocate), and WSSS Palestine team members. Topics may include: evaluation of the water testing program established last May; connection between water supply and diarrhea among camp residents; relationship between water quality and water quantity; equitable distribution of water in the camp; comparative analysis of remedial actions at the household and the community level; hosting of a training program in water quality testing for residents of other, nearby refugee camps; comparative analysis of engineering and public health approaches to the water issues at Aida; examination of institutional responsibility for water quality and quantity there; co-production of a video of our work at the camp. Skills covered include: International water research, human rights, water quality and quantity, and international politics, policy and regulation.
Read an excerpt on the Palestinian Practicum from Tufts Alma Matters: