How livable is your neighborhood?

How livable is your neighborhood?

Students Use Real World Data to Make ‘Green Maps’ of their Community

by Todd Burley
Homewaters Project, Seattle

“Green Mapping connected Cleveland’s students to their community by opening up their eyes to the environmental benefits and detriments around them. It gave the students a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility. The culminating presentation at City Hall was the icing on the cake–students were able to share their voice with students from other schools and show what they found from their research.”
Amy Baeder, 10th Grade Teacher, Cleveland High School

How can we bring the titanic issues of community health – both environmental and social – down to a level that can be taught in the classroom?  How can we make pollution immediate, income disparity tangible, and historical landscape changes apparent to the average tenth grade student?  And how can we show the connections among all these issues including the students themselves?

Ten years ago, the seed of an answer to these questions germinated in New York’s Green Map System.  This nonprofit organization facilitates the creation of ‘green maps’ around the world that make visual the sustainable features – and problems – in a local community.  Green maps are locally created, but use an international set of icons as a shared language.