On Oct. 28, last summer’s the participants of the The Planning and Leadership Across City Environments (PLACE) program presented an app they created called “Spot” to Commissioners Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz, Steve Novak, Dan Saltzman, and Mayor Charlie Hales at City Hall.
“Spot” is an app geared to 12 to 18-year-olds that allows its user to not only find places to hang out, such as parks and cafés, but also allows them to rate places, similar to the popular apps, “Yelp,” “Rotten Tomatoes,” and “Instagram.”
The Planning and Leadership Across City Environments (PLACE) program is a month long intensive summer program where students from all over the Portland area have the opportunity to learn about city planning and gain a better understanding of how the city works from issues regarding gentrification to architecture.
PLACE is led by Catlin teacher George Zaninovich, a firm believer in youth involvement in city planning to promote inclusivity.
Zaninovich says that “Empowering students through real world projects and collaborative learning to be engaged citizens for positive change” is the goal of the program.
These real world projects come from a relationship with the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). For eight years, the BPS has posed problems to PLACE in hopes of having a you-created solution that can be implemented.
This past summer, the PLACE program was given tasked with finding a way to engage youth in the planning of public spaces. In response to this, the app “Spot” was developed.
During the presentation, the student urged the creation of the app to increase youth participation across the Portland area, persuading the listeners to implement this thought-out idea.
After the presentation, Mayor Hales was in awe of the work that the students had created. Hales expressed an interest in connecting with students to make the app happen, and is excited to see what the PLACE program creates in years to come.