The Shaping OurSpace program was developed over five, half-day meetings at the Girls Inc. site at Booker T. Washington Homes (BTW), in Columbus, Georgia. Approximately 12 summer camp girls (ages between 7 and 15) took part in the program (this varied from meeting to meeting). Two faculty from Columbus State University developed the weekly program to support the girls’ involvement in the planning process to envision a future for the neighborhood: Dr. Becky Becker (Department of Theatre) and Dr. Amanda Rees (Department of History and Geography).
The program was a mix of theatre activities designed to support listening and speaking so that the girls would be prepared to engage in the public planning process, combined with geography and planning-oriented activities that supported each girl’s ability to analyze her neighborhood, and imagine a new neighborhood development. The geography activities were developed as part of CSU’s Cultural Geography class, spring 2012. The neighborhoods being planned in this activity included BTW, where the Girls Inc. afterschool and summer school meeting room is located, and the Liberty Neighborhood, two blocks to the north of BTW.
Shaping OurSpace is designed to prepare the girls to think about their neighborhood(s). We began by analyzing the girls’ familiarity with the BTW neighborhood, we then toured the neighborhood and created an assessment of the neighborhood’s strengths and weaknesses. Finally, we envisioned a future three-dimensional Lego plan for the Liberty Neighborhood section. As a culminating event, the girls will present their findings to a representative from the Columbus Housing Authority, the organization taking the lead in the redevelopment of BTW-Liberty District into a mixed use residential space.
2012. "Shaping OurSpace." Columbus, GA.: Columbus Community Geography Center.
Community Partner(s): Girls Inc..