Sidewalks to Skylines: exposing young students to the planning profession

By: Madison Sorsen, MSU CCED, Senior Research Assistant,

Cover of the toolkit.Over the past year, CCED partnered with the MSU Museum, the School of Planning Design and Construction, the Michigan Association of Planning Equity Committee, and the Multicultural Apprenticeship Program to create Sidewalks to Skylines: Empowering the Next Generation of Community Planners, a student engagement toolkit. This toolkit was designed as a how-to manual for planners to effectively engage with high school and middle school students about planning as a profession. It outlines an easy to follow process designed to introduce students to the field of planning and provide young people with the opportunity to give feedback to professional planners on local planning issues they have identified.

This toolkit has five specific learning outcomes:

  • Expose students to planning as a career, specifically land use planning
  • Expose students to different elements of planning (process, products, and skills)
  • Connect students to local and regional planners and explore planning as a profession
  • Identify planning issues in communities
  • Collect student generated images of "planning" across Michigan communities

The toolkit will take planners through a step by step process articulating how to achieve these learning outcomes. By exposing young students to planning, we hope to raise awareness of the planning profession and increase diversity within the field by attracting more prospective planners to any of Michigan's accredited planning programs.

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