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YNMI Lessons and Activities

The 2007 Youth Neighborhood Mapping Initiative worked with young people in the Peabody-Vance neighborhood and the University District. The teens worked 6 hours a day for 8 weeks. The program was designed to be flexible, with the teens defining a focus for their GIS mapping projects based on what they identified as important neighborhood assets and liabilities. To establish the proper framework for their projects, we spent the first 4 weeks of the summer providing training that introduced basic city planning concepts and GIS skills. Some of these activities are described in detail in the links below. These activities also helped us to learn about the neighborhoods we were working in, and understand the perspectives of the teens we were working with.

*A note to youth teachers: While we found these activities very useful, we also know that some of the best learning happened when we made opportunities for it to occur in an unstructured setting (e.g., the teens learned more about gentrification from a discussion with a homeless man outside the Lorraine Motel than they did by reading a definition in a vocabulary list, and they learned more about the psychological effect of physical design from a walk through a new urbanist HOPE VI redevelopment than they did by reviewing visual preference surveys).

Orientation & Group Development Exercises

Moon Survival Activity

People Map


Draw Your Neighborhood

Introduction to Mapping Resources

What Maps Can Show

What is City Planning?

Community Planning Jeopardy

Planning a New Town

Neighborhood Land Use

Land Use Photo Scavenger Hunt

Holding Ground (documentary)

Assets & Liabilities (Identifying Youth Perspectives)

Great Place/Lousy Place


Neighborhood Tour

History and Architecture

Architecture Tour

Public Space

Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (documentary)

Behavior Mapping

Making Connections

Local Assets

Capacity Building


GIS Training

Mapping Our World: GIS Lessons for Educators

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Last Updated: 12/4/11