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ASU Global Futures


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


Science, Social Studies, Civics, Justice, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • 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.
  • Science and Engineering
    • 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.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading (K-12)
      • R.6-8.4 Read various texts closely to determine what each text explicitly says and to make logical inferences; cite specific textual evidence to support conclusions drawn from the texts.
      • R.6-8.7 Interpret words and phrases as they are used in various texts, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • Social Studies
    • Geography
      • Geography 1 (D2): Students understand the geography of the community, Maine, the United States, and various regions of the world, and geographic influences on life in the past, present, and future by describing the impact of change on the physical and cultural environment.
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