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Get Schooled in Livable Streets

by Rebecca Jacobs

livable_streets_ed.jpgStudents at PS 87 record car speeds.

Last September, The Open Planning Project officially launched Livable Streets Education (LSE) to inspire students, teachers, and families to make the changes they want to see on their streets and in their neighborhoods. LSE's learning units explore a range of topics, including the urban environment, traffic calming, biking and walking, public transit, and safe routes to schools. The pilot program is already up and running in four schools. The response has been very positive -- young people are incredibly interested in improving the environment and their city. This spring the program will be expanding to 10 New York City schools, working with over 500 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Kim_SpeedGun.jpgLSE director Kim Wiley-Schwartz shows a pupil how to track car speeds.

The Livable Streets Education website is now up and running. Come visit to learn more about residency programs. For these in-school sessions, LSE members go out with students and take a look around their school, then come up with ways to improve it for pedestrians, cyclists, commuters, and most importantly, kids. They connect these ideas to math, science, social studies, literacy, and art, providing a rich learning experience.

If you’re interested in bringing Livable Streets Education to your child’s school (or the school in which you work), the program is currently available for fall 2009 residencies in New York. The program is entirely funded at no cost to schools. LSE also partners with cultural institutions for special educational programming. Look for LSE at the New York Transit Museum, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, and Celebrate Brooklyn.

To stay connected with educators and parents interested in Livable Streets Education, join on the Livable Streets Community site.

If you live outside New York City, not to worry. LSE is currently working with teachers to develop lesson plans that can be taught in classrooms across the country. Keep an eye on the website for the first three learning units, coming soon.

This piece originally appeared on Streetsblog.

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