On Friday, October 27th, the Y-PLAN site mapping tour brought Kennedy IT Academy students to Point Molate and downtown San Francisco to explore both an untouched natural and an urban area. Prior to the field trip, students were assigned project teams with specific deliverables that would help focus their project proposals. They were asked to think about those specific projects during the field trip and to brainstorm possible solutions and content to focus on.
All the students and the Y-PLAN team met in Dr. Moore’s classroom at 8am (1st period). The teacher, Dr. Moore, briefly did an overview of the goals for the day, and the Y-PLAN team members got to share a little about themselves. We also reviewed the agenda for the field trip so the students knew what to expect at each stop.
Then we got on the buses and went to Point Molate first. Students took a lot of pictures and seemed interested in the abandoned houses and historic buildings in the site. We encouraged them to think about potential new uses for the site, as it is by the waterfront and vulnerable to sea level rise. During our time there, we took pictures of the view and even went down to the beach area to explore up close the impacts of erosion along the coast.
Throughout the day, students asked many questions and were starting to make connections with what they were learning in class. For instance, one student mentioned that they had learned in class about specific water plants could be used as possible solutions for sites at risk of sea level rising. We helped them connect their ideas and what they have learned in class to devise a better solution for their city, which is the main goal of Y-PLAN!
After spending the morning in Point Molate, we headed to downtown San Francisco. During the ride from Richmond to S.F. students were interested in the landscape and infrastructure they noticed from the bus window. Students were asking questions to the teachers and taking notes and photos as we crossed the bridges; then we approached our downtown destination.
There we split up into two groups. One group went to Union Square and had lunch, while the other group went into the offices of Mithun Solomon Architects, who are part of the Resilient by Design HOME Team.
During the walk around Union Square students got to see the conditions of the streets and public space of that area. Many of the streets we walked on had some construction happening which made our time there more challenging and interesting. During this time, students ate lunch and began to sketch ideas in our notes about the redesign of public space.
In the office building, students got to learn about the work the Mithun firm is doing with the Resilient by Design Challenge. Students had the opportunity to provide feedback to the architects and designers on various project examples for resilient homes. Students also got to meet and talk to Mithun staff about their career paths and the use of technology in their work.
Compared to Point Molate, which is a natural environment, Downtown San Francisco is an extremely developed urban area, with fancy shops and hotels. Students were really excited and curious about these streets and buildings which are completely different from the Point Molate beach park and different from their own Richmond community.
Our Y-PLAN field trip finished after visiting these two sites. Many of the students looked tired, and many slept during the bus ride back to school, as they had just finished a tightly packed day. One of the students shared that she had a very different experience visiting these sites with Y-PLAN than when she goes with friends or family, and it was because this time, we asked them to think critically about the environment around them.