Growing Pains—and Plans
Growing Pains—and Plans
This set of classroom ideas addresses worldwide urban growth and how to plan for it.
6 - 9
Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Social Studies
Photograph by Getty Images
Cities are the future. According to the United Nations, about 55 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a number projected to rise to 68 percent by 2050. Natural population increases and the migration of people from rural areas to cities in search of economic opportunity are two reasons cities are growing. This rapid urbanization does not have to mean urban sprawl, however. The growth of the world’s cities comes with risk and challenges, but also tremendous opportunity, if it is managed correctly. Introduce students to the key role that urban planning by governments, city leaders, and active citizens plays in healthy and sustainable growth of cities with the lesson ideas below.
Provide students with an overview of urban planning with this article. Then introduce students to urban planner William D’Avignon for insight into a real-world application for this type of work. Discuss the city of Youngstown’s unique needs and D’Avignon’s ideas for revitalizing the city. Review the Youngstown 2010 Plan together. Discuss the major vision principles, or platforms for the urban plan, and ask students to compare the two maps depicting current and future city land use. Ask students: What changes have urban planners like D’Avignon proposed? How will these changes help meet the city’s evolving needs? Next, inform students that they, like D’Avignon, have been hired as urban planners for their own city or town. Their first task is to evaluate the physical layout of their city and assess the physical, social, and economic needs of the population using maps and resources available on their city or town website. Instruct students to use their research to inform their ideas in order to create their own four “vision principles” for a redesign of their city and a map illustrating their plans for improving the city layout and land or resource use. Make sure that the students’ plans address improvements in city services, recreational and “green” space, housing, and roads and transportation.
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May 20, 2022
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