11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Urban Planning in a Global Context – PowerPoint Presentation by a Sustainable Community Development Specialist

Nathan Zook and James Furgol

Cohort 2019-2020


You are a part of a global effort to increase access to education and empower students through “open pedagogy.”  Open pedagogy is a “free access” educational practice that places you – the student – at the center of your own learning process in a more engaging, collaborative learning environment.  The ultimate purpose of this effort is to achieve greater social justice in our community in which the work can be freely shared with the broader community.  This is a renewable assignment that is designed to enable you to become an agent of change in your community through the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  For this work, you will integrate the disciplines of Political Science and History to achieve SDG #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.   

Learning Objectives

You will become a community development specialist.


This active learning practice is designed to improve your academic skills, increase community connections, and improve social justice for our community.


You will become a community development specialist.  Choose a neighborhood in Maryland or the District of Columbia.  Using US census data, property tax databases, and local historical archives, trace the economic and/or cultural changes that have occurred over the past several decades.  Try to find official demographic data related to variables such as education levels, income levels, ethnic identity, home ownership, etc.  In addition, interview at least 5 individuals who have lived in the neighborhood for more than 10 years and at least 5 individuals who have lived in the neighborhood for less than 2 years.  Use Google Earth along with photos you have taken and tables/graphs you have created to produce a PowerPoint presentation to be given in class regarding the changes.  Feel free to include video footage of your interviewees (with their permission).  Discuss how the neighborhood “developed” or changed during this time-frame.  What are the costs/benefits of these changes for various stakeholders in the community?  To what degree is continued development sustainable or problematic?  Finally, based on your analysis, make recommendations for sustainable development in this community.  What institutions or continued changes would be optimal for this neighborhood and its current residents?  What changes should be avoided?  After your classroom PowerPoint presentation has been graded, you may be asked to present this at community or academic events (with your permission) to highlight the interconnection between academic research and sustainable communities.

Format Requirements

Additional Expectations

  • A list of interviewees with a description of their life in the neighborhood should be submitted
  • A list of citations including scholarly sources, databases, archival sources, data websites, etc. should also be submitted
  • The classroom PowerPoint presentation should include a minimum of 7 slides and be within the 8-10 minute range
  • The presentation should be divided into three roughly equal sections.  Please give equal time to each of the following:
  1. description of the neighborhood changes
  2. assessment of the costs/benefits of development
  3. recommendations for future sustainable development in the community


Key Takeaways

Urban Planning in a Global Context – PowerPoint Presentation by a Sustainable Community Development Specialist is licensed by Nathan Zook, Montgomery College and James Furgol, Montgomery College under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA)