Building a ‘Box City’ Neighborhood

Dr. Laura Dedenbach’s class in Preview of Urban and Regional Planning (URP 4000) led children in the Porters Community to design their ideal neighborhood.

Students in URP 4000 facilitate the Box City activity with children in the Porters neighborhood. Photo by the Gainesville Sun.

September 20, 2017

Have you ever wanted to design your ideal neighborhood? Put a park here, place a retail store there. Well, the children in Gainesville’s Porters neighborhood got that chance thanks to Dr. Laura Dedenbach’s undergraduate class in Preview to Urban and Regional Planning (URP 4000).

The activity was held at the Porters Community Center in the Porters neighborhood between the UF campus and downtown Gainesville. With the help of the URP class, the children in the Center’s afterschool program built a 1/8” scale cardboard box version of how they wanted their neighborhood to look. This process taught them city planning concepts such as neighborhoods and citizenship.

The Gainesville Sun featured the event with an article and video:

Dr. Dedenbach felt the event was a rewarding experience for both the Porters neighborhood children and her URP 4000 students.

“We were so pleased that the kids had fun and learned about planning, building and their neighborhood. The students in the URP 4000 class learned quite a bit about citizen engagement and the planning process too.”
Laura Dedenbach

The Porters Community Center kept the Box City model along with the extra supplies to continue teaching these neighborhood lessons to the children.

Photo by the Gainesville Sun.
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