ERIC Number: ED408943
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Jan
"Our Town: An Architectural Perspective": A Program for Inner-City At-Risk Children.
Gallagher, Claire B.
"Our Town: An Architectural Perspective" is a program for at-risk elementary school children which was instituted at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). The goal of this effort was to introduce built-environment awareness in the public schools, where the neighborhood serves as the classroom and as a vehicle for instruction and development of community pride. Students who have difficulty performing in a typical classroom feel welcome and safe in this alternative environment. Classes are hands-on and interdisciplinary in nature, and visual and spatial literacy are at the heart of the program's educational strategy. Based on the success of a pilot project, a second program was instituted in an urban neighborhood which included children from a white, blue-collar section of the neighborhood and black children from the "projects." These children had no interaction other than their daily coexistence in school and the challenge became to use the "Our Town" program and note any similarities and differences between the outcomes of the suburban and urban student populations. Student exercises included discussing what a city is, brainstorming a list of buildings, planning the design, and developing models of buildings. For the suburban children, this was a fantasy, and a chance to role play and control an environment which is unusual to them. The urban children took control from the outset, working as a team, while the suburban children insisted on working alone. An illustration of cooperative learning, the urban example demonstrated a working knowledge of the concept of a community and its connection with the classroom while the suburban example illustrated the common classroom emphasis on individuality, invention, and product. (AEF)
Descriptors: Built Environment, Class Activities, Community Development, Community Planning, Comparative Analysis, Cooperative Learning, Educational Environment, Elementary Education, Experiential Learning, High Risk Students, Higher Education, Interdisciplinary Approach, Program Implementation, Student Projects, Suburban Youth, Urban Planning, Urban Youth, Visual Literacy
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A