Understanding the past to build the future

In Social Sciences in 2nd of ESO we are studying cities: how they form, how they develop, and above all, analyzing the problems that derive from them. To better understand the problems and the difficulties to solve them, we have developed a project in which the students have designed their own cities.

It is very easy to design an ecological and well-organized city if we start from nothing and that would not help our students to understand the problems of today’s cities. So for this Project, we have defined 9 phases of development of cities according to historical moments, from the first medieval farms, through the industrial revolution to the development of modern roads and centers. In the first phase the students had a blank sheet: a river, two roads and six farms that they have been developing so they create complex cities.

Furthermore, in order for them to understand the difficulties that they had to face as mayors, they could not tear down any building that stood in their way without creating a report of why they wanted to tear it down and what they were going to put in its place. This report was sent to the town planning council (the teacher) who had to give their permission for the demolition and they did not always succeed.

With this activity we have sought to demonstrate in a very visual and didactic way the development of cities and how many of their current problems derive from this historical development. By June we are working on finding solutions to these problems and turning our cities into sustainable cities.