We built this city!

We have been working on a project that has been looking at how cities or towns are built. The complexities of many people living together arose when we started looking at the needs that people have. It also highlighted the challenges that councils face to meet those needs.

What is a Town Council?
We discovered that a Town or City  Council is made up of many different people. They all have different roles that play an important part in planning a town and then maintaining the many services that arise.
Our local council is made up of councillors who have been elected to the council. The Mayor is the lead councillor who has the final say in many decisions.

What we did

The first activity that we looked at was to role play making council decisions using the following prompt called "Peopletown".

The students worked in groups to consider the challenges of a variety of scenarios and then redesigned the city based on their decisions. It certainly showed how complex town planning can be!

Our next challenge was to then apply what we had learned to our environment. We used our quadrangle space as the basis for a city design that a group of students came up with. The students were placed into groups of four and were given role cards. 

The students took on the challenge of being one of the following:

  • Project Manager
    ⇒Lead note-taker and compiler
    ⇒ Documents existing challenges, alternatives,
    and the ultimate decisions (Why did we make the
    decisions we did?)
    ⇒ Leads the presentation during the final
    presentation (shares duty with others)
    ⇒Helps the others in decision making


  • ⇒ Leads the discussion about city planning options based on the existing land conditions
    ⇒ Leads the conversation about the limitations of the landscape (what will limit our potential city plan?)
    ⇒ Leads the discussion about opportunities (how can we use the landscape to our advantage?)

    ⇒ Helps the others come up with alternatives to laying out the various parts of the city

Environmental Specialist

  • ⇒ Lead the discussion about possible environmental protection concerns with the landscape provided ⇒Helps the others make design/layout decisions that balance environmental concerns and the needs for the city
    ⇒Researches the possible harmful side effects of the city plan to the landscape/environment.
Civil Engineer
⇒ Leads the conversation related to the dimensional layout of the parts of the city.
⇒Makes sure the group adheres to the parameters. ⇒ Helps the others in drawing city blocks, roads, and constructing the buildings/bridges, etc.
⇒ Considers the aesthetic aspects of the city design. (What kind of city would people want to live in?)

The students then created a town based on what they had learned from Peopletown, incorporating shopping centres, roads, schools and houses. They had to explain why they had included particular facilities and why they may have left out some things like power plants or farms.

Some examples of the maps:

The students made a good effort with their maps, taking them from a rough draft to a completed work. The students then presented their maps in a Gallery Walk style presentation. This ensured everyone had a turn at speaking and show their contribution to the project. The students then voted on the plan that they thought was most effective.

The Next Phase

The next phase was to build the city. The students were placed into teams and given tasks such as road making, building a structure or planning the town. This part of the project needed more time as it was a bit rushed in the end. However, it was exciting to be able to put our plan into action.

What did you learn from building a city?

What would you do differently if you did this activity again?


  1. Making our town was so fun hope we can do it again :)


  2. My group did the road using a big paper roll. when the wind kept blowing it away we didn't give up . I enjoyed making the road.

  3. Making the town was a lot of fun to do. I really enjoyed it.

  4. I really liked drawing our town it was fun.

  5. I loved making that city hope we can do it again !


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