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In this chapter, we present results from an out-of-school time STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education program in the United States in which we engage urban youth in urban planning projects for sites in their neighbourhoods. In the field of urban planning today, it is nearly impossible to create any urban plan without the use of GIS technologies. In our work, youth have been using sophisticated GIS modelling technologies to create and evaluate different urban plans for particular areas within their own city. As part of their projects, youth visit a site to collect basic phsyical data, talk with residents, and identify the resources that are available to the neighbourhood. With that information in hand, the youth create different site designs using a software package, CommunityViz, and evaluate the economic and ecological impacts of their different designs, In doing this, youth learn about (1) the urban planning process; (2) GIS skills and the role that GIS plays in the urban planning process; and (3) evaluating and comparing the economic and ecological impact of different site designs.
DeBay, D., Haley, J., Mark, S., Barnett, M., Anderson, A., Strauss, E., (2012). Engaging youth in visualizing sustainable urban plans using geographic information systems coupled with computer visualization. In A. Wals, P. Corcoran & H. Brandon (Eds.), Learning for sustainability in times of accelerating change: Springer.