Neighborhood Design: Matthew Schaefer '17

Author: Tai Verbrugge

Matt Schaefer

Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Matthew Schaefer is completing his fifth year in the Architecture program with minors in both Sustainability and Italian. He’s in the finalization stage of his capstone project which revolves around developing a set of sustainability criteria for the city of South Bend to follow during park renovations. These guidelines stem from both research and standards adopted by peer cities, and include stricter stormwater management, assessment for floodplains, and exploring the possibility of full cutoff lighting to improve public safety.

Matthew's love for drawing and mathematics drew him to architecture ever since the 8th grade and it was from this passion for architecture that he developed an interest in the Sustainability Minor. According to him, sustainability and architecture are closely intertwined nowadays; you’d be hard pressed to find an architecture firm that doesn’t include a sustainability tab on their website. Going green has become the new norm for building design. Matthew is especially intrigued by the benefits offered by using local materials rather than imported ones and by embodied energy, the amount of energy it takes to turn these raw resources into usable building materials.

In the long term, Matthew seeks a career in urban planning and landscape design, where he can help structure cities more efficiently and in ways that are healthier for both its citizens and for the natural environment. Though he considers that his life’s work, Matthew plans to start a little smaller. A firm that tackles green projects like riverfront renovations or urban neighborhood design, with an emphasis on traditional construction methods, is the ideal landing spot for Matthew following graduation