Planning a Healthy City (Major Project)

Author: Kirstin Bittel and Rachel Hughes

Time: 2 class periods
5-10 minutes making copies
Materials: City Planning Data Sheet


Students will apply their understanding of city layout and effects of city design on air quality and environmental health as they build a scaled model city.

Students will be able to:
1. Create a blueprint for a scale model of a city that provides for the economic and cultural needs of a community while maintaining high quality air and water to protect the public’s health.
2. Identify, on the blueprint, where essential elements of the city should be located.
3. In writing, explain the rationale for the location(s) of these essential elements.

National Geography Standard
(18) How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future
   18.B Develop plans to solve local and regional problems that have spatial dimensions
  18.D Use geography knowledge and skills to analyze problems and make decisions within a spatial context
(12) The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement
   12.1 The functions, sizes, and spatial arrangements of urban areas
(4) The physical and human characteristics of places
  4.C Explain how social, cultural, as well as economic processes shape the features of places
  4.D Evaluate how humans interact with physical environments to form places

Teacher Background

Related and Resource Websites

Basic Research Resources for City & Regional Planning



1. Tell students that beginning today they will begin the process of creating a plan, or blueprint, or their city. This will continue the usage of the sheets that they were introduced to yesterday.

2. Distribute planning sheets to each group. Inform students that this sheet is to help them remember to place all essential elements within their city.

3. Before allowing groups to begin working, remind them to take into consideration the geography, latitude, and climate of their parcel of land.

4. As student groups are working, circulate and ask focusing questions to ensure that students are indeed planning their cities while keeping in mind not only the cultural and economic needs of citizens, but the quality of air and levels of pollution as well.

5. When students believe their blueprint is complete, have them begin working on the rationale for the placement of each essential element. How does the placement benefit the health of the citizens as well as their cultural and economic needs?

6. By the end of day 2, students should have a detailed blueprint and data sheet completed.

Remind students that the next class day they will begin construction of a scale model of their city. They will need to construct a model of the relief of the landscape first, before designing the city on the landscape. Tell them that while you will provide basic elements (construction paper, tape, glue, markers, etc) they need to supply any additional materials they may require.

Tell students they need to bring construction materials.

Embedded Assessment
Are students planning their cities with the health, economic, and cultural needs of their citizens in mind?

Are students using geographic and climate data in their planning?

Can students clearly articulate the rationale for placement of each essential element?


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
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