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Our mission is to invest the next generation of informed citizens in how the world is built around them. Youth will develop an understanding of urban design concepts and the impacts that they have on the quality of community. In turn, they will be empowered to use their voice to impact their own community.



“I learned more about how a city is designed to work for a community. Before, I didn’t know how something gets made in relation to the people around it. It’s not just building a building, it’s how this is going to work for the people who live here.”

Bridget Curtis / 10th grade


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Our Impact

Pre-interviews were conducted with Design Your Neighborhood participants the week before the program, prior to any instruction or curricular engagement. Students were asked 10 semi-structured questions that address neighborhood perceptions, community and sociopolitical involvement, and expectations for the internship. Post-interviews took place in the week after the program after all instruction was complete. Students were asked many of the same questions from the pre-interview in order for comparisons to be drawn, and were asked to reflect upon and evaluate the program as a whole. In what follows, student reflections are organized around several of the major internship topics.



Overall 72.73% increase in understanding how community design strategies can solve problems.


"A community can be healthy because of design. It’s all about the way that designers plan the important concepts we talked about in the internship: walkability, transportation, food resources, identity, and housing.”

Jermiah, 10th grade



Overall 64.41% Increase in awareness of built environment issues in their neighborhood.


"I didn’t know that people are getting pushed away by the high prices out of Nashville. I didn’t know there was a public transit issue for North and South Nashville. I didn’t feel like those problems affected me but they do. I knew they existed but didn’t think about it here. Now I know what the issues are and how to start changing them.”

Charlie, 10th grade



Overall 63.10% increase in confidence and methods for advocating for change in their neighborhoods.


“At the beginning I didn’t think that the youth voice mattered. I thought that people doing urban design would want to talk to adults. After learning everything from the program I saw that shows that youth voice does matter a lot.”

Swasti, 10th grade

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For Teachers

Design Your Neighborhood is a curriculum that includes activities for classrooms of grades 5-12.  The activities engage youth with the world around them through a lens of the core question: How does the shape that we give to our city, in turn, shape us?

The content is based on the Nashville Civic Design Center's books The Plan of Nashville: Avenues to a Great City, and Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan. The activities best align with the standards and goals of World and Human Geography, Government and Civics, Visual Arts, and Freshman Seminar courses. 

The videos below show a teacher testimonial, and student led showcase that were a result of the curriculum being taught in a Freshman Seminar class at LEAD Academy High School.


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