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I am an urban designer and educator. One of the most joyful things I do is facilitate architecture and urban planning studios for elementary school children in public schools through Youth in Arts and UC Berkeley’s Y-PLAN. Like many adults today, I am asking myself how—in my professional role—can I positively contribute to the #MeToo movement for and with the children in my life? How might I, when I work with young people, respond proactively to the gender inequities and injustices that we are witnessing every day? How can I help both boys and girls express their own power, free from the distortions and abuses of sexism and racism?
UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities + Schools and the Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, kicked off the spring Y-PLAN Youth Challenge on Tuesday, January 30th at the Bay Area Metro Center in San Francisco.
This summer, Y-PLAN Japan welcomed 100 high school students from Japan to the Bay Area for the TOMODACHI Softbank Leadership Program.
On Friday, September 29th, Y-PLAN received special recognition from Chancellor Christ in the Chancellor’s Community Leaders Breakfast. Along with Y-PLAN and BART staff, AAMA Director Jerome Gourdine and Skyline High School teacher Jamal Muhammad, two of AAMA’s kings attended the event and spoke of their experience during the Y-PLAN process last semester and the their internship with BART over the summer.
Following the Y-PLAN end of the year events in Oakland, BART hired seven students from AAMA Y-PLAN classes for stipended 5-week summer internships to implement one of these proposals: a community mural campaign. Under the direction of Jennifer Easton and Alicia Trost, BART’s Directors of Arts and Communications, respectively, AAMA Y-PLAN interns developed a theme, distributed a call for artists, and made their selections for the Oakland Coliseum BART Muralist during the month of July.
This blog was written by Resilient by Design describing their exciting partnership with Y-PLAN. "Resilient by Design is excited to partner with the UC Berkeley Center for Cities+Schools (CC+S) through the evidence-based Y-PLAN educational methodology and to be involved in the collaborative effort to create a unified vision for a resilient future for the Bay Area."
Responding to the challenge posed by the SF Planning Department, these first grade students worked in teams to create posters articulating their thoughts, feelings, hopes and desires for the urban environments we all occupy. Each team took on a theme: Transportation, Safety, Adventure, Learning, Stewardship, Equity, Wild Space, Fun, and Diversity. They studied inspiring examples of public spaces in cities around the world and then translated their dreams and visions into collages, drawings, and writing. They have concepts to give us about how to enhance the city in ways in which they — and all of us — can thrive.
“From a personal experience, when I was younger I had to go through the shelter system, and I had to miss a lot of school, and I missed like half of third grade. Missing a lot of school caused me to get held back. I had speaking problems, I had social problems. So we felt like the school website would show that we really want to help them out.” –Y-PLAN Student at High School for Enterprise, Business, and Technology, speaking to Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna and Deputy Policy Director Jeff Lowell
Deborah McKoy, Executive Director of The Center for Cities and Schools, was recently featured on the podcast Community Voices of Change. The podcast highlights "individuals working hard to strengthen communities." Their guests talk on their personal experiences and the resources and practices they have used to "help us all advance progress and change in communities around the world." Deborah explains the benefits of working with young people in city planning.
This is the third in a series of blog posts by Selena Perez Tejeda from her perspective as a UC Berkeley student working as a Y-PLAN mentor in Oakland. She discusses the final presentations coming up April 17th and the responsibility adults have to listen to the young people's proposals.