Celebrate With Youth and Students

National Community Planning Month offers innumerable opportunities to educate young people about the role planning has played in shaping their neighborhood, town or city, and surrounding region — and also to engage them in thinking of ways planning can make these places even better.

Ways to Celebrate

  1. Visit a local school for Career Day. Explain planning and your role as a planner to the next generation. Use our new flyers as a resource.
  2. Have your agency or office sponsor an essay contest for students. Ask them to talk about what they like best about their community.
  3. Hold a youth poster contest. Ask students to draw their favorite place or reimagine a neighborhood. Use this City Gallery activity for inspiration.
  4. Host a Box City event
  5. Host a scavenger hunt in your town to get kids and adults out and exploring.

Online Favorites

Kids' Planning Toolbox logo

Kids' Planning Toolbox is APA's blog about all things youth and planning, including videos and podcasts. Get tips from teachers and planners for classroom projects, curriculum ideas, and field trips for students.

Kids and Community

Kids and Community is APA's site especially for kids themselves. It's a place where they can learn what planners do, post their own work, and learn about wonderful children's books that feature different communities.

APA Resources

Metropolis: A Green City of Your Own

Download this free curriculum developed by a third grade teacher — and planner — in the Bay Area. Metropolis was designed as a standards-based, interdisciplinary unit of study for grades 3-6. It is intended for use by elementary classroom teachers and other adults who look to expose children to a variety of urban forms from around the world.

Genius of Common Sense coverUrban Naturalist Guide

The Urban Naturalist Guide, based on the book Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of The Death & Life of Great American Cities, leads you through a study of any neighborhood of your choice, camera and drawing pencils in hand.

City Detective Lesson Plan

Try this lesson plan from APA and teach your students the history of how their community was planned. Learn how it has evolved. Your students can also learn about the profession of urban and regional planning with new flyers on planning topics (see the links at right).

StudentsXpress coverStudentsXpress City Issue — Fall 2012

Along with students' words and artwork, this e-newsletter gives Chicagoans and Chicago natives the opportunity to explain "what makes Chicago a great place to live."

Introducing Planning


Prepare yourself by reading Ramona Mullahey's article, "Youth Engagement in Planning" published in The Commissioner. You may copy and share this article with others.

Children's Book Club on Planning

Create a book club discussion for children in your community. Planners Book Club has featured two children's books. A Street Through Time shows young people how a city develops.

Discussion questions

Order book

Career Flyers for School Visits

Handy flyers for kids on five different planning topics are available for download and copying. An additional flyer, Resources for Teachers and Planners, is a useful handout for teachers and provides planners with ideas for developing youth activities.

What Is Planning? (pdf)

What Is Comprehensive Planning? (pdf)

What Is Environmental Planning? (pdf)

What Is Transportation Planning? (pdf)

What Is Urban Design Planning? (pdf)

Resources for Teachers and Planners (pdf)

Take Planning to the Classroom

Teach high school students various aspects of planning by having them create a new neighborhood within their community. The City of Austin Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department worked with a freshman geography class to teach elements of sound land-use and green community principles. The students were provided with various neighborhood maps that had a center portion excised out so they could create their own neighborhood. Students were encouraged to be creative while still considering the existing surrounding neighborhoods and incorporating sustainable elements.

Click on the image to see all pictures.