- Cheltenham School District
PBL9 Launches the “City Project”
In support of its latest endeavor, the “City Project,” honors-level project-based learning freshman made a trek to the city to explore the question “How does form follow function in urban development?”
In the city, the two groups visited several locations to identify features of global cities and their central business districts; conduct research related to the "Central Place Theory" by interviewing various retail services within Center City; and met with two premier architectural firms in Center City for ideas and support on project work.
The group was divided and each had two appointments: CICADA Architecture/ Planning, Inc. and JKRP Architects, and the higher-end shared office spaces at 2 Liberty Place and along the Avenue of the Arts.
After the interviews, the groups engaged in a scavenger hunt, where they had 45 minutes to interview random retailers about the types of services they provided and who their typical customers were. The students were to stay between Broad and 18th and Chestnut and Locust, while teachers monitored their progress.
With assistance from township commissioner Ann Rappaport, Honors students have been tasked with identifying a space within Cheltenham Township which needs improvement, and redesigning the space to serve an unfulfilled need within the community, while staying financially viable. Their final project design will include a 3D model of the exterior and virtual interior design, as well as a “pitch” to community stakeholders that outlines the financial benefits of their redesign.
Courses covered in the project include biology, where students will explore how cellular structures evolved to support basic functions of life; social studies, where students will be learning about the “Central Place Theory” of market areas, how cities have evolved to serve the needs of their residents, the function of central business districts, and how global cities attract international corporations; and English, in which students will be exploring the form and structure of writing.