Monika Roy translated the Observe Program into Bangla and coordinated with a colleague in Bangladesh to being providing the workshops with students there. Monica is a MCMP graduate student in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah.
The Observe program’s goal is to develop the voices of the youth by guiding them to pay attention to their cities, understand its functioning, rethink the city based on their observations and to effectively communicate the change they desire. The participants take part in a community-based observe program, learn about cities, and develop skills that will amplify their voices as they engage in place-based, creative action. Developed by the Center for the Living City, this program builds upon successful pilot projects completed with the Girl Scouts of United States of America and troop #496, The Muslim Girl Scouts of Utah.
What will the participating students learn?
- -The participating students will learn about Jane Jacobs and her ideas about cities.
- -The students will learn how to use their five senses to observe their neighborhood and how to notice instances of normal life that one would normally overlook.
- -They will learn techniques on how to represent these observations in terms of maps and drawings.
- -They will learn how to engage in a group discussion that involves many stake holders.
- -They will learn how to curate and set up an exhibition from content they generated from the workshop.
- -They will hone their leadership and communication skills through various exercises.
Urgent challenges facing communities such as the impacts of climate change and rapid urbanization, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, food deserts, and other deficits are opportunities for creative responses from the change-makers of the future. Inspired by the broad impacts of people like Jane Jacobs, Malala Yousafzai, and Jaime Lerner, youth have new role models and new narratives to help them navigate through inequalities and push for creative expression. This ‘observe’ program will provide them with skills and tools that both inform action and support their developing voices and leadership skills. The elements for creative action might include but are not limited to those which may cause concern or joy, inform a sense of history, address problems of housing, mobility, food justice, access to education and sanitation, or a host of other problems witnessed through their observational skills.