Adam Schwartz- NYC’s Livable Streets Initiative

Adam teaches at the Academy of Urban Planning in Bushwick, Brooklyn. in addition to teaching Global Regents, he co-teaches Urban Geography, an interdisciplinary class (History, Science, Geography) that analyzes the urban environment. A major focus of the class is Geographic Information Systems and other geospatial technology. Adam is in his 3rd year of the NSF funded City as Lab program with Brooklyn College, which assigns PhD students to his class to support inquiry and project learning. If you are interested in getting involed, please get in touch with him at

Geography can take us to distant places and help us to understand the processes occurring around the world. But geographic awareness has the firmest grounding in our immediate surroundings, especially for students will a limited experience of other places. The way our city is shaped affects our student’s lives intimately on a daily basis, most readily in its streets.

So this Geography Awareness Week, we had the pleasure to work with NYC’s Livable Streets Initiative. Working together with Rebecca Jacobs, director of Street Education, we set out to get our kids active in transport planning.

There are few experiences more real and visceral than almost being hit by a car, an experience our students are very familiar with. In a pre-survey of experiences and attitudes (shown below), 75% report a near miss with a car. One out of every five of our students report bring hit by a car. Almost 90% of them know someone who has–there were many harrowing stories shared in class to back up these statistics. This is clearly an area where students have a great deal of concern, if not a complete understanding. But that is a great place to start a unit!

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