The story of civilization has been the story of its cities. Jericho Turkey, considered to be the first organized settlement of humans, dates back to 8000 B.C.. From ancient Egypt, China and Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean world of Greece and Rome to the Mayan and the Aztecan, people are drawn to come together. Today's rapidly growing metropolises are considered to hold the highest forms of social organization, yet in their complexity and constant movement, they also hold civilization’s failings. People of all backgrounds and income levels live, work, learn and play in cities, towns and villages. Cities consist of streets, parks, rivers and lakes, people, places and things! Cities are in constant motion and often constant change, always building and rebuilding. Our cities shape the way we live in a very profound way.
A city is a place where people go and live, learn, work and play…..visit and grow up……hope and dream!
Activity 1 Remember Your City
Each of us was born, grew up and now live in a place. This exercise is intended to communicate the ‘sense of place’ where each of you came from. From pictures, memories and your imagination, make a drawing comprising ideas about where you originated and/or grew up. This ‘urban self-portrait’ will communicate location, character, and imagery of where you came from.
Include a location map, block layout, house facade and any essential views that will visually portray the place in which you are living. If possible, locate important buildings in your neighborhood such as the school, church, library, grocery store, playground, park, etc. Make a copy of your drawing and paste it in your journal.
Activity 2 Add to Your Neighborhood
What is missing in the neighborhood where you live? You will need to start with a Google Earth image of your neighborhood. Are their blocks that are empty or filled with cars? Can you create an infill project? What catalytic function or use would you introduce into your neighborhood which is not currently there? Where would it go? How big does it need to be? What should it look like?
Be a developer. Imagine the future!
Activity 3 draw your city in 10 views
Cities are constantly changing, building, tearing down and rebuilding what exists. You will dissect your city by drawing 10 different systems that come together to create the places where people work, live , play and learn. You will use maps to find the systems and can interview people in your city government to find out more about what your city has to offer. Begin this exercise with a map of your city. You can use Google Earth, Google Maps or Mapquest to deliver an aerial view. You can do all of the maps yourself or get 10 people in your class to help you. You will need tracing paper and colored pencils and access to information about your city.
1 WATERSHED: show rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands in blue. 2 PUBLIC GREENS: show all public parks and greens in green 3 TRANSIT: show the train station, train lines, bus lines in black 4 PEDESTRIAN: show side walks in yellow. 5 CULTURAL: color all cultural institutions- schools, museums, theaters, performance halls, etc. in red. 6 ARTERIES: CORRIDORS: BOULEVARDS: STREETS: ALLEYS: ALLEES; show streets in gray 7 COMMERCIAL: show commercial in orange 8 OFFICES: show offices where people work in brown 9 INDUSTRIAL: show industrial areas in beige 10 RESIDENTIAL: show single family homes, apartments and high rise residential towers in purple
Pin your map up. Present the information about each system that you have gathered. Ask the city planner to come to your class after you have made your maps and find out what plans the city has for economic development. Most cities have ideas about where they would like to expand areas or densify areas or improve areas. Urban designers study city systems and neighborhoods and suggest strategies to improve living conditions for the future.
What city is considered to be the first?
A grid is a good way to organize a community.
Cities shape our daily lives.
Cities are made of:
People move to cities to find:
- OPEN CITY London
- Art of Building Cities
- What is a City?
- How does a city grow?
- Interactive Map of Rome: Natural, Architectural, Social, Cartography
- Fly through Ancient Rome!
- Chicago's Burnham Plan
- Wacker Manual
- Urban Age
- Urban Lab
- Shade Lab
- Chicago 2040 Scenarios
- STOSS: Landscape Urbanism
- David Baker's Better Living Through Density
- Resource for Urban Design Information
- What is new urbanism?
- Cooper Robertson
- My Imaginary City
- Smart Growth
- Under New York
- Squint Opera
- Cell City Analogy
- National Geographic Expedition Planning a New Town
- Envisioning Development
- Center for Urban Pedagogy
- The Manahatta Project
- Rome Reborn Video
- GuggenHeim Lab: 100 Urban Trends
- Edi Rama: Take Your City Back
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