Neighborhood Boundaries

By Jennifer Giampetro, Primary Unit teacher

First and second graders in our Primary C classroom are currently acting as "urban planners" to build neighborhoods in our classroom city. They have been considering housing types, "must haves" in a neighborhood, and what the neighborhoods may still need. 

Jonathan Tannen, who received his Ph.D. in Public Policy in Urban and Population Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and who studies the movement of neighborhood boundaries. came to talk to us about what or who makes a boundary. We discussed how our neighborhoods would be different if we lived two blocks away, ten blocks away, or in California. Students came to the realizations that their houses might be different, commutes to school might be longer, neighbors would be new, and grocery shops might change.

Jonathan talked a bit about racial and socioeconomic segregation in neighborhoods and why it still exists. He gave an analogy that if the best ice-cream shop was in your neighborhood, then everyone would want to live there. Housing prices would go up and only the wealthy could afford that neighborhood. 

Special thanks to 8th grade math teacher Ethan Tannen, who introduced his brother, Jonathan, to us!