Student Work

  • Theories of Urban Practice (MA)

    Nora Elmarzouky

    My Future, My City - My City, My Future

    “My Future, My City – My City, My Future” is a program that aims to engage secondary students as co-participants of city revitalization processes, aligned with their individual learning and development. The program was first implemented as a pilot study in Reading, PA for considerations of how to create a comprehensive/experiential/situated learning program that fulfills such aims. The program continues to develop in Reading, but the framework could be applied in cities that share similar qualities and desire for widening participation in revitalization processes. Development and analysis of the prototype was included in a thesis with hopes of continued implementation.The main facets of this program guide students to open their scope of observation and analysis of their neighborhoods for deeper intellectual growth and to uncover how they can participate in active, conscious city-making. They delve into self-discovery, discuss contested terms that are often taken for granted, explore their communities, and collaborative on active responses. These elements combined provide space to bring various groups of people together to be a part of co-designing the city during a critical period of revitalization. Within an educational setting, students participate in a community of practice in which they work with urban practitioners in areas they are interested in exploring as a part of redevelopment research, plans, and implementation. This can range from, but is not limited to, researching conceptual ideas of repurposing spaces, designing and prototyping multiple types of business proposals, physical construction of new types of spaces, and designing needed services within a community. By participating in such social practices that impact their lives, students learn and develop their social membership in the urban realm and become equipped with the tools and skills to negotiate their space within the ever-changing city.