Comparing Your Neighborhood to an Ideal


  • To design an ideal neighborhood
  • To consider issues in your own community


  • Butcher paper/flip chart paper
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils

Prepare Before


Warm Up

Have participants complete the following sentence: “In my neighborhood, _____________.” It can be fun to keep this going several times around the circle and see where it goes though much will depend on the mood and comfort level of the group. You may need to give an example to get them started.


STEP 1: Ask participants to close their eyes and take a moment to silently imagine what a perfect neighborhood would look and be like. Imagine what sorts of things there would be to do and who would live there. Give them time to form a picture in their minds.

STEP 2: Let participants know that they now have an opportunity to design their ideal neighborhood. Divide them into small teams and distribute butcher paper or flip chart paper and markers. They may not begin writing or drawing for five minutes. These five minutes are to be spent discussing the things, places, people, or features they imagined in Step 1 and want to include in their ideal neighborhood.

STEP 3: Participants have 20 minutes to work with their team to design an ideal neighborhood and will need to be able to explain what makes it ideal.

STEP 4: Have each team present their designs to the full group and explain their choices. Encourage participants to notice differences and commonalities in the designs. Ask what was challenging about this activity. How was it to work on this alone versus in a team?


Once all groups have presented, raise questions about differences between these neighborhoods and the ones they actually live in. What differences exist? What makes one more ideal than another?

  • What is the difference between a good neighborhood and a bad one?
  • How would you feel living in each of these places? Why?
  • What could happen that would cause problems in these ideal communities? Poor economy? No jobs? Violence? If this neighborhood is ideal, why might these problems arise?
  • What could we do to transform a “bad” neighborhood into a “good” one? How easy or difficult do you think this would be?


Discuss how looking at our neighborhoods can help us determine issues in our communities.


Have students respond: if you could make ONE aspect of your neighborhood more like your ideal one, what would you choose? What would you do to make that a reality?