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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Junior Planner activity book wins prize from American Planning Association

Junior Planner activity book wins prize from American Planning Association

City Planning should be fun and Westminster’s Senior Urban Designer Sean McCartney brought the fun to life with his award winning Junior City Planner Activity Book. McCartney created the activity book to explain city planning on a third grade level, using humorous illustrations and activities.

The book was awarded the 2020 Merit Award in the category of Community Engagement by the American Planning Association’s Colorado Chapter.

“We’ve all been asked, ‘What do you do for a living?’ and when we start to answer, most people want it explained to them as if they were a child,” said McCartney. “So I designed an activity that breaks down the basic components of city planning.”

When City Council asked the city’s Planning Manager Rita McConnell to come up with a way to get the city’s young residents involved in City Planning, McConnell went to McCartney to come up with some ideas.

Having been presenting to third grade classes for the past 10 years on the subject of “How a City Grows,” McCartney recommended creating a Junior City Planner program similar to the Junior Ranger Program used at National Parks.

Completion of the 18-page document was all done in-house. Using the knowledge of city Planning staff and McCartney’s background as a freelance illustrator, the activity book was drafted, then vetted by local elementary school teachers and curriculum coordinators. Since third grade has a city planning component in their curriculum, the activity book needed to be age-appropriate.

Watch a video below of McCartney explaining the activity book

Inside the activity book are pages to guide students through the planning profession. One of the most helpful pages is the definitions section towards the front of the book because planning tends to get wordy. Each subject concludes with a fun activity that allows the child to apply what he or she has learned.

Once the student has completed the activity book, he or she presents what they have learned to his or her parents. A parent will then sign the document and the child receives a sticker badge announcing their accomplishment. They also get a signed (frameable) certificate showing they are now a Junior City Planner.

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