11th and 12th graders attended an 8-week program with Columbia University's Urban Studies graduate workshop.
The Urban Studies Workshop engages students with a studio-based approach to the issues and discourse of the contemporary city by exploring a variety of conceptual, analytical and design tools for understanding and operating within urban contexts through focused individual or collective research and design projects.
Basically, CHAH students studied ways in which public spaces in New York City could be opened up to foster community gathering and engagement.
Britney Quezada, an 11th grader in the program, said "We were paired up with graduate students and made a video about Inwood Hill Park and how we could potentially remove some parking lot space and put a greenhouse in. Or hold some after-school activity in the parking lot in the short term."
She added, "Now when I walk around my city, I think about ways it could be improved. I'm trying to raise our village up here in Washington Heights!"
This year the Urban Studies workshop focused on Inwood, and came up with policy and urban design suggestions on how to improve the area, based on things like improving health, or increasing accessibility to the waterfront, or increasing available jobs in the area. Our students met with the graduate students from Columbia, most of whom were international students, and our students gave their thoughts, critiques and suggestions on the policies and designs the grad students were creating. Our students then helped film in certain sections of inwood to add to the grad students presentations. Finally, our students went to Columbia university this past Friday to see the final presentations and give their final thoughts.