Students at Finca La Maya Design their Own City

Just imagine if Coronado communities had some urban planning before all the new construction done in the past few years! Urban planning is actually an extremely important job. City planners and engineers play an extremely important part in making communities better organized, safer, and more enjoyable to live in. An urban planner is a professional who works in the field of urban and land use planning for the purpose of optimizing the effectiveness of a community's land use and infrastructure. In developing their plan for a community (whether commercial, residential, agricultural, natural or recreational), urban planners must also consider a wide array of issues such as sustainability, air and noise pollution, traffic congestion, crime, safety, land values, legislation and zoning codes.  

The importance of the urban planner is increasing enormously, as modern society begins to face issues of increased population growth, climate change and unsustainable development. An urban planner can be considered a “green collar” profession. They are usually hired by developers, private property owners or firms and local/regional governments to assist in the large-scale planning of communal and commercial developments, as well as public facilities and transportation systems. Urban planners serve as technical advisors in the complex web of the community's political environment. Related disciplines include community, cultural, environmental, historic preservation, housing, regional and transportation planning.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if our beach community had a “local/regional government to assist”!  

But these things take time and our communities are growing faster than you can … blink!

FLM project: inspired by…reality. The town-building project for the students at Finca La Maya’s Saturday classes came from a surprising source. One day one an unusual donation arrived: a box full of empty cigarette hard-packs. Eventually the idea came: let’s plan and build our own town!
New vocabulary: learning about architecture, construction, decoration, and…city planning!

Many children in our community do not know the word architecture, let alone “urban planning”.  Big discussions ensued and new words were learned, in Spanish and English. What kind of house do you want to build? How big is your family? Where will your home be located ~in the country or town? What kind of business or job will you do? Then the young artists began gluing the little boxes together. After the size and shape was designed, the kids decorated their houses using colored paper, paint, and other materials. Some houses included gardens. One girl opened her own hotel.

Working together, City planning. Finally, when the houses were complete, the group discussed where they wanted their house to be located: in the village, next to the school, near the river, up in the cooler mountains. What else was needed for our town?  Oh yes: a store, a hotel, a bus, and a playground. And trashcans, we need trashcans! One young boy wants to be a priest. “Our town needs a church!”

Applying lessons. When it was time to mount the three dimensional houses onto the big background of sky, mountains, river, and streets, there were a few disputes over property locations, borders, fences, bus and taxi locations, and what to include in the little town’s park. The classroom was animated, full of excited “homeowners” arguing their cases ~ not dissimilar to a city planning meeting at the major’s office!

Name that town…a democratic vote. After several weeks our town was completed and it was time to choose a name for their new village. There were interesting suggestions like “Cuidad del Sol” (Sun City), Olympus, Pueblo Tranquillo, but finally “Monopoly” won ~ by only one vote!

Learning through art can be one of the most rewarding experiences ~ for both the students and teachers! We invite artists or any volunteers to come do a two-hour project with the kids on a Saturday afternoon. You won’t believe the fun we have! All are welcome, call or just show up at 12:30 art classes at Finca La Maya

DSC 0037 640x480

“My mission is to teach through the arts the joy of learning. I hope to inspire in young students the desire to extend their education and encourage them to interact with the arts throughout their lives” ~ S. McCamant

Since 2007, every Saturday: Finca La Maya in San Carlos provides FREE classes for English, Art for Kids, a Computer Lab and a bilingual library. Our students are benefiting enormously from these programs: some have been admitted to universities, some have won scholarships, and many are getting better paying jobs requiring bilingual skills. Donations and volunteers support these community programs. FLM always needs more of both! Come join the fun, volunteer for a couple hours… you may just love it! Be part of the difference we are making in these kids' lives .To find FLM and for more details visit: Call or simply show up. Thank you for your support!