My Town

Learn how to think about your home in your town, what makes it what it is, what’s important to you and how you get about. And to play with it, in real life and at scale.

Step by step

Step 1

Go out in your town (very good during lockdown as everything is a bit less full) and have a whizz around in places you wouldn’t normally encounter. Carparks are good. This should get your heart pumping. Think about how you got there and how you’ll gethome. What things did you see? What roads did you cross? Which buildings did you pass? Did you go through a park? Did you stop at a shop? Where were the cars? Where was it wide or narrow, tall of level?

Step 2

Talk about your town. Think about your home. Where is it in the town? On the edge? Near the shops? By a main road? What type of home is it? Big? A terrace? Does it have a garden? Are you on the 10th floor? Where is the hospital? Where’s the park? Where is the school you go to?

Step 3

Using tape, mark out your home in the middle of your kitchen floor. Make it a nice size so you can draw some features on it, like the front door and the loo.

Step 4

Using string or wool (or something like that) and masking tape begin to map out your street, with tacks or blutac to turn corners. (If you’re using pins, ask your parents/ an adult to a) help and b) if you prettyplease can make holes in the floor.) Where is your home? On the corner? In the middle somewhere? How wide is the street? Do you get some views through gaps? How would you show this? Where is the corner and what is there?

Step 5

Move beyond your street. Using string, tape, tacks/ blutac, map your route to school. Next, map your route home from school? Do you go a different way? Do you stop with friends? Mark the points you stop at. Identify the main points, road names and – if you can – think about how you think about them? Are they nice places? Happy places or scary? Draw pictures of these most important spots and tack them down.

Step 6

Think about all the different journeys you take from your home – to the park, the shops, library, to church, the cinema, your gran’s – and map out the routes with string, tape and tacks, thinking about the shape and character of the streets. Draw the main spaces and buildings you encounter and draw them. Pin them down.

Step 7

As you lay out more streets think about the buildings you come across. What ones do you notice? (Which ones don’t you notice? Why is that?) Draw them, cut them out and tack them down, with signs for them. Maybe make road signs too. See how the streets and buildings and parks (and beach) relate to your home and the other places that are important to you. Where is your school? Is it close to the park? Is it near home? Where are the shops and she supermarket? Is your family nearby? Where’s your favourite place?

Step 8

Once you’ve done enough, get some toys and play with the map. Change it to make it better. Take photos of what you’ve done because it’ll look pretty good.

Activity designed by:

Ambrose Gillick PhD
Lecturer in Architecture
Kent School of Architecture
University of Kent

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