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ASU Global Futures


7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Civics, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans
  • Activity - Classroom, 45 minutes
  • Presentation Slides

Regional Focus

North America, United States


Google Slides, PDF

Build Your Own Equitable City

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  • In this 45-minute urban planning activity, students will design a city with equitable infrastructure for all of its citizens. 
  • Students will also learn how environmental racism impacts historically marginalized populations and how proper urban planning can result in more environmentally just cities. 

Teaching Tips


  • The slides and teacher's script are already prepared, making this lesson easy to use.
  • The links in the lesson provide additional information about the topic for students and teachers.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers will need the slides and the teacher's script to execute this lesson.
  • Teachers should review the materials (links to articles, slides, and teacher's script) for better class readiness.


  • Instead of drawing the city on paper, students could make a three-dimensional model or use mapping software to make a digital city.
  • History and social studies classes could use this activity in a unit on environmental racism or redlining and this activity could easily be integrated into computer science and design classes.
  • Have younger students work in groups or pairs and provide additional support by providing possible solutions or a number of options for students to choose from.
  • Other resources on this topic include this article about environmental racism, this video about the impacts of extreme heat in redlined communities, and this film on building a world that promotes environmental justice and equity for all.
Scientist Notes
This activity will enable students to ideate how to plan for an equitable city devoid of environmental racism. The resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-1 Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.12.6-8 Explain how global changes in population distribution patterns affect changes in land use in particular places.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
  • Related Resources


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