Build a City

A collaborative elementary school project about urban engineering.

I led two classes of sixteen students each through the process of creating cities. The students started by identifying important buildings in a city. They build a two-dimensional map of where the buildings fit into the limited space their cities could occupy. They progressed to building vertically with cardboard. Finally, they chose who would build 3D models of each building to be 3D printed.

2D map construction
2D map
2D map construction
2D map

Some things to think about:

- Where does the city's water come from?

- Where does the city's waste go to?

- How do people move around in the city? Roads? Rail?

Going vertical
Buildings are different shapes
The map is a guide for where the buildings go
3D printed cardboard clips
Under construction
Completed cardboard model

3D Model important structures

- Graph paper: trace and color the footprint of what you are modeling

- Housing

- Factories

- Schools

- Civic structures (police, fire, hospital)

Build a map of the structures
Everyone needs a map of the structures
Digital models can be more fantastic than cardboard
Different structures serve different roles
3D printed city buildings
Some designs are familiar
The variety is astonishing

The students used the 3D printed models to rebuild new cities in smaller scale than their original cardboard cities. In addition to the plastic models, students used cardboard and construction paper to create a collaged urban environment.

Students worked with a common vocabulary of landscape features

- black: roads, rail, transportation

- green: green space, trees, grass

- blue: city reservoir, lakes, ponds (all the water needed to be used)

- brown: municipal waste (all the brown needed to be used)

Each group had a common visual vocabulary about the city's landscape
One group organized their buildings first
The city was traced before removing the models. Landscape, roads, and water were added
Buildings were affixed with double-sided foam tape
3D modeled and printed city with cardboard and construction paper collage

Twitter: @joshburker



This work and images copyright 2014 Josh Burker