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Putting It All Together

The following activities engage students in a number of ways that let them discover how city planning, past and present, relates to their lives.

Activity 1: Draw the City Plan of Savannah

Have students create the basic module of Savannah's town plan--the ward--with all its divisions. Refer them back to Reading 2 and the visual evidence for more information about the makeup of the ward.

There are two sets of instructions depending on level of difficulty desired: first set uses approximate measurements and the second set uses measurements scaled down from the original ward size. Choose I or II. Version II likely will be easier to complete with grid paper or a drawing board and t-square tool.

I. First version of Activity 1, Approximation instructions:

Using the information provided, draw a ward with a pencil and ruler. Start by drawing the geometric square that will be the outline of your ward and then mark divisions along the edges of the square.
 Use the following measurements:

A. North and South edges of the ward:
Measure 7 inches wide
Include, in this order from side to side (west to east) along the edge:

  • 5 house lots, each ½ inch wide
  • 1 Avenue, 2 inches wide
  • 5 house lots, each ½ inch wide

B. East and West edges of the ward:
Measure 7 inches wide
Include, in this order from top to bottom (north to south) along the edge:

  • House lot, ¾ inch
  • Street, ¼ inch
  • House lot, ¾ inch
  • Street, ¼ inch
  • Trust lot, ½ inch
  • Avenue, 2 inches
  • Trust lot, ½ inch
  • Street, ¼ inch
  • House lot, ¾ inch
  • Street, ¼ inch
  • House lot, ¾ inch

Note that the first house lot on the north edge and the first lot on the west edge are the same lot. The same is true for the lots in the other three corners – these corner lots each have borders on two of the edges.

After marking the divisions along the edges, students will finish drawing the lots as boxes. Ask students to notice that the avenues divide the ward into quadrants. How many house lots are in each quadrant? How many house lots are there in the entire ward? Students have learned that the house lots are each 60x90 ft, which means each row of house lots in a ward is a 300x90 ft rectangle. The four trustee lots are rectangles each 180x60 ft. Where is the open Square located? Ask students to label the following areas on their maps: Square, Tything, Trust Lot, street, and avenue.

Once students have completed their ward maps, engage them in thinking critically about the advantages and disadvantages of this design. Ask them to write 2-3 paragraphs describing how the ward plan would limit and/or benefit the city's residents in the short and long terms. Would they want to live in a ward? Why or why not? If they were to design a city plan to foster equality among residents, how would their plan be similar to and how would it differ from Savannah’s?

II. Second version of Activity 1, Scaled instructions:

Using the information provided, draw a ward with a pencil and ruler. Start by drawing the geometric square that will be the outline of your ward and then mark divisions along the edges of the square.

The suggested scale for this activity is: 1/8 inch equals 10 feet.

Use the following measurements:

A. North and South edges of the ward:
Measure 675 feet wide
Include, in this order from side to side (west to east) along the edge:

  • 5 house lots, each 60 feet wide
  • 1 Avenue, 75 feet wide
  • 5 house lots, each 60 feet wide

B. East and West edges of the ward:
Measure 675 feet wide
Include, in this order from top to bottom (north to south) along the edge:

  • House lot, 90 feet wide
  • Street, 37 1/2 feet wide
  • House lot, 90 feet wide
  • Street, 22 1/2 feet wide
  • Trust lot, 60 feet wide
  • Avenue, 75 feet wide
  • Trust lot, 60 feet wide
  • Street, 22 1/2 feet wide
  • House lot, 90 feet wide
  • Street, 37 1/2 feet wide
  • House lot, 90 feet wide

Note that the first house lot on the north edge and the first lot on the west edge are the same lot. The same is true for the lots in the other three corners – these corner lots each have borders on two of the edges.

After marking the divisions along the edges, students will finish drawing the lots as boxes. Ask students to notice that the avenues divide the ward into quadrants. How many house lots are in each quadrant? How many house lots are there in the entire ward? Students have learned that the house lots are each 60x90 ft, which means each row of house lots in a ward is a 300x90 ft rectangle. The four trustee lots are rectangles each 180x60 ft. Where is the open Square located? Ask students to label the following areas on their maps: Square, Tything, Trust Lot, street, and avenue.

Once students have completed their ward maps, engage them in thinking critically about the advantages and disadvantages of this design. Ask them to write 2-3 paragraphs describing how the ward plan would limit and/or benefit the city's residents in the short and long terms. Would they want to live in a ward? Why or why not? If they were to design a city plan to foster equality among residents, how would their plan be similar to and how would it differ from Savannah’s?

Activity 2: Then and Now in Your Town
Few cities in America retain their original design like Savannah. Remind students that their generation will be the next stewards, or guardians, of your town's history. Instruct students to analyze the development of the town in which they live or of one nearby through maps. You may decide to divide them into teams or pairs and coordinate with the local library, historical society, or land records office so that the research facilities are prepared for the students.

1. Each team should locate two maps of the town, one which is current and one that dates to an earlier time period, preferably at least 50 years before the current map.

2. Once the teams have copies of the two maps, ask them to compare the differences in the town as shown in the earlier and later map. Things to consider include:

  • Have open spaces, such as parks, remained constant or have previously natural or open spaces been developed?
  • Has the central area of the town changed?
  • Has the business district changed?
  • Which map has more roads? Explain why.
  • Are there areas where little or no change has taken place?
  • Is the town more developed in the current map than in the historic map?

3. Ask team members to compare the maps as documents, not just for their geographical content. They should compare the style and presentation of information on the two maps, including differences in wording, scale, and compass rose/north indicator.

4. After the teams have shared their findings, ask the class to discuss which areas have changed the most and which have changed the least. Ask them to analyze the pattern of change in their community. What conditions accounted for these changes? What is the present condition of the unchanged areas? Do these areas represent an important part of the town's history and, if so, should they be reserved for future generations? Debate whether the town's historic area could be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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