Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kiddie Urban planning

I love 2nd grade for many reasons. Mostly though because they let me teach city planning to 7 year olds. Second graders are indignant about ugly, thoughtless development. They demand beauty. They recognize form. They "get it" more than planning commissioners do. 

They also get the importance of protecting the pedestrian and providing safe bicycle transportation. They love parks. Hell, they even get the impact beauty has on economic development. 

Our town elected a 27 year old Mayor this year. I think he might be 20 years too old. Seven year olds are brilliant when it comes to urban planning. 

Monday, October 5, 2009


Oh how I love the enthusiasm of my classes! When they learn about climate change they become enlightened and then motivated to educate the world. "We should educate Joe the Plumber!" they screamed.

In Oklahoma we don't discuss the fact of climate change in polite conversation. It is a waste of breath. People either already know it and agree with you or they are totally closed to anything that challenges their world view. 

But consider this, the official high school graduate rate is 70%, but in reality those "transfers" are usually dropouts so it is closer to 50%. So 5 out of 10 people can't comprehend any scientific conversation you may want to have with them.  But 5 can, so you try. Of those 5 maybe 2 have a natural curiosity that would allow them to explore new ideas. You also have to get through the filters of politics, religion, denial, distractions, etc. 

So let's say you have ONE person out of 10 who is reachable, but did they ask you to educate them? At least students in my classes have paid for education so I can legally shower them but strangers on the street are less receptive.