In yet another major feat, a paper by the Amrita Live-in-Labs® team has been accepted and published in a recent International Journal, Technological Forecasting and Social Change 172 (2021): 121002 with an impact factor of 8.593. The journal is a major forum for those wishing to deal directly with the methodology and practice of technological forecasting and future studies as planning tools as they interrelate social, environmental, and technological factors. This is a solid example of the Live-in-Labs® program’s capacity to transform students, faculty, and community to build sustainable solutions.
The publication titled, “Participatory Design Approach to Address Water Crisis in the Village of Karkatta, Jharkhand, India“, explores the study conducted by the Live-in-Labs® team. This study reveals how water scarcity experienced during the summer months by the rural community residing in Karkatta, Jharkhand, compels the community to abandon agricultural practices during summer, leading to a significant risk of poverty.
Live-in-Labs® program revolves around the concept of participants directly living in rural communities (labs) and co-designing solutions to development challenges, thereby gaining first-hand knowledge and know-how of identifying and assessing community needs and subsequently developing and implementing viable solutions through various participatory methods.
Through this study, the students and faculty of the Live-in-Labs® program have utilized different approaches to experience and engage in solving the challenges of this community. This work proposed a Human-Centered Design approach to analyze the water scarcity problem and potential solutions. The participatory methods, including co-design, were utilized to understand the multidimensional challenges from the stakeholder perspective and to collaboratively develop design requirements for the proposed solution. Meteorological, hydrological, geological, agricultural, and mechanical engineering were integrated to develop a solution to ensure multi-dimensional sustainability of water, agriculture, and livelihood in Karkatta. The proposed design uses the knowledge from these multiple domains to combine rainwater harvesting, effective irrigation strategies, and less water-intensive crop-based agricultural choices, while converting a water-scarce region to one of a water surplus.
The authors include bachelor’s students, an international Master’s student, a Ph.D. student, and faculty mentors from multiple departments across multiple campuses. The collaborative paper is written by B.Tech. students – Deepak Suresh Varma and Sidharth K. A. (Department of Chemical Engineering, Coimbatore campus); Vishakh Raja P. C. (Department of Aerospace Engineering, Coimbatore campus); Ph.D. student – Krishna Nandanan (Amrita School for Sustainable Development, Amritapuri campus); Faculty mentors – Dr. Maneesha V. Ramesh (Dean, School for Sustainable Development, Amritapuri campus and UNESCO Chair for Experiential Learning on Sustainable Innovation & Development) and Dr. Soundharajan B. (Department of Civil Engineering, Coimbatore campus); and an international master’s student – Mireia López Pérez, (Department of Industrial Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain).