Slum Resiliency Project

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In my Global Citizenship class we study the social, economic and environmental problems associated with the substandard living commonly called “slums”. We celebrate the strengths in these communities, investigate why slums are on the rise in today’s world (urbanization) and forecast the possible impact of slums in the future. The driving experience in this unit is a project that asks students to collaborate in small groups and design an architectural or urban solution to the physical and environmental problems associated with slum living. We then take these solutions and partner up with a local non-profit who provides feedback for the students.

Throughout the course of the unit we ask ourselves “How did cities, and their accompanying problems, begin?”.  We study the origin of human societies and civilization, beginning with a look at humans as Hunter Gatherers and well as the transition of humans from nomadic tribes to sedentary farmers (Neolithic Revolution) and what impact the had on the social and environmental settings. Towards the end of the unit we arrive back in the Modern Era and look at the issue of urbanization and the rise of slums. Students are given the following driving question: “How can we make slums a solution and not a problem?” 

It is always amazing to see how thoughtfully the students approach this important global issue and how much respect they gain for the residents living in these informal communities.  As an educator I believe it is my responsibility to help my student appreciate the common humanity we all share, and I hope projects like this spark a flame of passion for social justice inside them.