FOFA Works With MS 447 – “Urban Planners of Tomorrow”

In the final semester this year, FOFA was invited to participate in Kaitlyn Somer’s eight grade class service learning unit at Middle School 447 (located on Pacific Street at 4th Ave). The learning unit focused on 4th Avenue and identified safety issues and possible areas for improvements.  FOFA members assisted the students, self named  “Urban Planners of Tomorrow”, both in a class discussion and in organizing and accompanying them on a walking tour the avenue.

After conducting research and organizing their findings, the future planners created a professional power-point presentation, personal in tone and reflecting their 4th Avenue experiences and those of their families.  Their findings included many issues that FOFA has discussed in the past, such as the need for benches, more trees and general greening, longer crossing times and wider medians, better trash collection and containment, more bike racks, and better lighting. The students even “visioned” what a more young people-friendly block of 4th Avenue would look like.

On June 17, five FOFA,members, Kim Wiley-Schwartz from DOT and Luke DePalma , Director of Policy and Planning for the Borough President’s office, attended the public presentation of the student’s report.  Following a spirited discussion about how their work could be used to help safety issues, the students put together a video about their work.  In less than a week, they scripted a rough draft video which you can see here:  In the presentation, the students are seen reading the scripts that they wrote and captures the enthusiasm and personal investment they have in making Fourth Avenue a safer place. Kudos to the Urban Planners of Tomorrow.

Teacher Kaitlyn Somer with 8th grade students and guests at MS 447