Berkeley hosts national summit on youth-led urban revitalization

ATTENTION: Reporters covering education, city planning and development, social services, youth, the environment, disaster services and technology

WHAT: The University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools is hosting its first-ever National Institute as part of its Y-PLAN (Youth Plan Learn Act Now) program, which is designed to help students engage in work that improves the quality of life in struggling neighborhoods. As part of the institute, students and teaching fellows will share their experiences as agents of change in their communities in eight cities that stretch from New York City and Detroit, to New Orleans and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Participants have been working on pilot Y-PLAN projects, including:

  • Successful cleanup of a local park polluted by toxic wastes in Washington, D.C.
  • Creation of digital apps to reduce language barriers and increase access to public services in  New York City boroughs affected by Hurricane Sandy
  • Mapping the transportation needs of low-income Richmond, Calif. youth

WHEN: 1-8 p.m., Thursday, August 8

8:30 a.m. -8:30 p.m. Friday, August 9

WHERE: Alumni House, on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus, just northeast of the Haas Pavilion. For details, check an online campus map.

WHO:   Over 50 students, teachers and civic partners will assemble for the institute, with another 20 Y-PLAN participants joining from Japan for a portion of the program.

DETAILS:  U.S. students, teachers and civic partners will present their community projects to one another from 1-5 p.m. on Thursday. They also will stage a “Global Y-PLAN Exchange” public poster session from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday  to discuss their work with the Japanese students, who will present their own Y-PLAN projects such as the creation of an eco-tourism program to bring Tokyo residents to Tohoku to learn about the community and its ongoing needs following Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Please contact Kathleen Maclay in UC Berkeley Media Relations at (510) 643-5651 regarding interview requests.

Y-PLAN is an innovative planning studio for students from elementary to high school to develop projects to enhance their communities with the assistance of UC Berkeley student-mentors and civic leaders in their home cities. Projects aim for short- and long-term results. Launched in 1999, Y-PLAN has been expanding in recent years into national and international networks.

Joining the young activist/designers and teachers this week will be Y-PLAN national partners and funders such as Capital One Foundation, The California Endowment, the Water & Elise Haas Fund and the Tomodachi SoftBank in Japan.

Click here for more information about the Y-PLAN at the Center for Cities and Schools, which operates under the auspices of the Institute for Urban and Regional Development.