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About Cities of Today, Cities of Tomorrow
Project description         Subjects and levels         Objectives         Skills

Project description
We are all familiar with cities. If you are using this curriculum, chances are you live in a city or in an oultying area with strong ties to the city. Those who live in them, take cities for granted; but cities are one of humanity's most complex and sophisticated forms of social organization. This curriculum provides a systematic and interactive study of cities for primary, middle and secondary schools around the world.
From a historical overview of urban development to specific studies of urban violence or homelessness, the 6 weekly units in this curriculum cover all major aspects of cities and their global and local importance. As your students are guided through the issues with clear text and stimulating activities, they will acquire the knowledge and skills to "construct" their own ideal city. As they plan this city throughout the curriculum, they will communicate with students around the world and talk to United Nations experts. They will explore their own communities and share their findings with students in cities in other parts of the the world. The curriculum and all its activities will culminate in the creation of their own "Ideal City", the designs for which they will share with other students and with the United Nations.

Subject matter and level
"Cities of today, cities of tomorrow" is an interdisciplinary curriculum designed to meet requirements in a range of different subject-matters. These are History, Social Studies, Geography, Economics, Global Studies, Government and Civics, World Civilizations, Current Events and Environmental Studies. The curriculum has been specifically designed in tiers, with portions appropriate for grades 5-7 and others developed for 8-11. Grades 4 and 12, on either end of the spectrum, will also benefit from many aspects of the curriculum.

The "City Summit" held in June of 1996 placed urban issues squarely on the global agenda. With over half the world projected to live in urban centres by the year 2000, the city has taken on a much higher profile in the vision of the future. Cities already play a major role in all our lives, and their growth has been far from a bad thing. Cities have produced the greatest structures, cultures and economies. Yet, few would disagree that today's cities -- in the developing, as well as the developed, world -- are beset with serious problems. In fact, in many cases they are adding to global problems such as pollution.
While each unit comes with its own set of objectives, these are the general objectives of the curriculum. "Cities of today, cities of tomorrow" will help students:
  • appreciate the global dimensions of urban issues and acknowledge their local variations;
  • gain a historical perspective on the development of cities;
  • learn about the make up of a city: its infrastructure and economy;
  • study the causes and consequences of urban growth;
  • become aware of the environmental, social and economic problems of their own cities;
  • appreciate the difficulties of running a city;
  • identify solutions for creating better and healthier cities;
  • view their own lives as part of a larger whole, a habitat which includes their home, their town/city and the world.

Students will acquire or further develop specific analytical, descriptive and expressive skills in the course of this curriculum. They will be able to:
  • identify and articulate causes and effects (in relation to issues such as urban growth, urban poverty, inequity, etc.);
  • make informed national and international comparisons;
  • get familiarized with the processs of planning and take on simple planning tasks;
  • make decisions and evaluate their possible consequences;
  • understand and interpret data expressed in various forms, such as tables, bar graphs, line graphs, and percentages;
  • present data in various forms (as above).

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