Price students teach high schoolers city planning

The Price School of Public Policy’s Associated Students of Planning and Development hosted Planning for College on Wednesday, an event where high school students learned about urban planning and gained insights on the college admissions process.

The event was held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. ASPD members in Price’s Master of Planning program organized the activities and led 42 visiting high school sophomores through a series of exercises and informational seminars.

The day began with an introduction from ASPD president Benjamin Frazier  and an address from Price professor David Sloane, who teaches courses in urban planning, policy and history and community health planning and policy. After the welcome, students participated in an activity in which they mapped out their own neighborhoods and schools, examining why these places are organized the way they are.

Following the neighborhood mapping, the high school students broke up into small groups and rotated between three different activities, including a “Before and After” exercise, where they matched old photos of different areas with their current counterparts to observe changes over time; a “Streetmix!” activity during which students designed their own street layouts and a Price admissions information session. Students engaged in a capstone activity where they designed their own cities using the tools and skills they gained throughout the day.

ASPD coordinated the event with GEAR UP 4 LA, a federally funded program that aims to help low-income minority high school students successfully graduate and enter college. The participating high schoolers came from the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, located in the historically underserved areas of Koreatown and Pico-Union.

“[Planning for College] is meant to be an introductory seminar to let students know about planning as a career and show  them how they can get involved in their community even if they aren’t planners,” Frazier said. “Most urban planners didn’t know about planning when they entered college, so we just want to show high schoolers that planning is a viable career option and that it affects many aspects of their lives, while also incorporating college preparatory aspects.”

Justin Pascone, ASPD social chair and event volunteer , said that the Planning for College program merges city planning and life planning.

“At Planning for College, we try to combine the ideas of planning a city and planning your life,” Pascone said. “We show them how to set goals and achieve them through planning, which applies to both urban planning and college preparedness and bridges the gap between the two.”

Participating high school students also commented on what they learned, as well as their new interests in urban planning.

“It was really cool to learn about our neighborhoods now and what they looked like before, and seeing how they’ve changed over the years,” said Joshua Valdivieso, a sophomore at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.

Students also discussed different aspects of the college admissions process.

“I learned about how numbers, like GPA and test scores, aren’t that important and that it’s more about what you do and how you help other people,” said Sage Cuza, a sophomore at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. “It’s also not about making yourself look good on paper, but about doing what’s important to you.”