Citizenship In Action: Engaging Appalachian Youth in Design Thinking to Promote Community Wellness

As Appalachian communities evolve, citizen engagement and understanding of the built environment will be crucial to the quality of our growth. To address this need, the Nashville Civic Design Center has developed Citizenship in Action (CIA), which is an innovative, web-based curriculum of activities that engage youth with the planning and design of their communities. CIA teaches students design as a way of thinking and problem solving while building awareness and exposure to the world around them. The curriculum challenges them to apply their knowledge to solutions for their neighborhoods, thus empowering students and promoting a “youth voice.”

In this presentation, we will describe the scope, goals, and target outcomes of CIA. Special attention will be paid to the implementation of CIA in rural communities, with our recent Scott County, Tennessee Design Your Neighborhood weekend as a case study of the impact that CIA can have in empowering youth to understand and address community needs.