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July 29, 2016

50 Bronx Middle School Students Present Their “Future City” in Final Showcase of DDC’s Summer Enrichment Program

Bronx students in the DDC Summer Enrichment Program display their “Future City” and program completion certificates, along with DDC STEAM staff.

Ian Michaels
Executive Director of Public Information

Bronx, NY—Approximately 50 Bronx middle students showcased their “Future City” projects today at MS 22 on East 167th Street as they neared the end of the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) first Middle School Summer Enrichment Program.

Throughout July, students in the program, who come from several schools in District 9 in the South Bronx, learned about the built environment from ancient time to the present using a curriculum developed by the DDC’s STEAM division. They received instruction four mornings per week from DDC educators on science, technology, engineering, art/architecture and math (STEAM), and on Fridays they visited sites where they focused on the relationship between architecture, design, and visual art. Field trips included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Hall of Science, and Google’s New York headquarters in Chelsea.

For their final project, students spent the last week of the program building a “Future City,” incorporating elements of design throughout history that they studied over the summer. The students were divided into ten groups, with each constructing a section of their proposed Future City, including handmade and 3D printed models of modern buildings, pyramids, classic buildings, dams, bridges, and more. The ten sections fit together to form the entire “Future City” model of about 64 square feet.

“Middle school is an essential point of development in a young person’s life where their learning experiences help mold them into future scholars,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That is why I am excited to see the Department of Design and Construction working with the Department of Education, the Department of Youth and Community Development and these young New Yorkers to provide them with rich, engaging, and fun experiences, all while nurturing their passions for engineering, math, art, design and New York City.”

“Our summer educational programs expose students to concepts DDC embraces to improve the highly built environment of New York City: sustainability, resiliency, equity and growth,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “The students have opportunities for personal development, they build relationships with each other and with our STEAM educators, and may down the road decide to pursue careers in design or engineering. We’re very proud to help a diverse population of Bronx students.”

“This summer our District 9 students from the South Bronx have traveled the world. They have learned about the built environment from ancient time to the present,” said DDC Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis. “Our young engineers have visited several of the great NYC cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they studied the relationship between architecture, engineering, design and visual art in ancient construction. They also had an opportunity to tour the Museum of the City of New York and learn about the founding of NYC from the early settlements to our present day metropolis. They also visited the NY Hall of Science and Google where they were exposed to cutting edge technology. It has also been a unique opportunity to set up our students for success in the fall and avoid the dreaded summer slide.”

“Opportunities to create, innovate, and imagine are central to our children’s education,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “DDC’s Middle School Summer Enrichment Program encouraged students to think outside the box and use critical STEAM skills to boldly build and design for the cities of tomorrow. Young people are the future of New York City, and I thank the City for investing in the children and youth of the South Bronx and across the five boroughs.”

DDC has partnered with Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) for its middle school summer program. LeAp is funded by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). DDC also works with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) and DYCD to facilitate a wide range of hands-on STEAM-related programs, all designed to increase early learning opportunities in STEAM professions for underrepresented students.

The Maker Bot technology used by students to create their model city structures was made possible by a generous grant from the Fordham Street Foundation. The Fordham Street Foundation supports efforts to close the gap in academic achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged youth. The Foundation is committed to giving all children access to innovative teaching strategies and experiences that lead to improved academic performance and personal success.

DDC STEAM is a concerted effort to support the Mayor’s call for City Agencies to collaborate to address the education challenges facing our city. MS 22 in District 9 is a RENEWAL school where 100% of students qualify for free lunch. The school has a high percentage of foster care, immigrant, special education and English language learners.

“As we work to provide hands-on, high-quality summer learning to students in the South Bronx and citywide, DDC is a critical partner. This is a wonderful program that holds off the ‘summer slide’ and helps our middle schoolers find their passions and talents, and I celebrate the work of the educators and students involved,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

"By providing our middle school students with real-life exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture/Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) careers, we equip them with essential professional skills that will help them throughout the summer, during the school year, and into their adult lives,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong. “DYCD is proud to continue this inter-agency collaboration with DDC and our community partners in bringing the exciting world of engineering to classrooms in the Bronx and across New York City.”

“We are delighted to support the DDC STEAM initiatives summer program in its efforts to expose New York City youth to career and educational opportunities in architecture, engineering and construction, and in particular to encourage and involve students of color in these fields,” said Judy Bigelow, Director of the Fordham Street Foundation.

“The 2016 DDC Middle School Summer Enrichment Program was a great success! Students from all across District 9 collaborated on a project that could one day shape the very city they call home. The activities inspired students to think about their future careers and what a future New York City will look like. This experience was great for the students enrolled in LeAp District 9 Summer STEAM Academy, as they are able to have a safe place to interact and befriend peers from outside their neighborhood, and explore the great opportunities the city has to offer. LeAp looks forward to continued partnership with DDC in providing quality STEAM enrichment to DYCD youth participants,” said Monique Jarvis, Deputy Supervising Director of Leap Afterschool.

“Congratulations to the students who completed this summer’s ‘DDC STEAM Summer Program’ and to the teachers, staff and funders who supported this important initiative. These types of engaging, career-oriented learning models help improve academic performance, while also addressing the under-representation of low-income, women and minority populations in these promising career tracks,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“Engaging younger students in the STEAM curriculum and coupling that with real-world projects surely helps to prepare them for the future. I'm impressed by what the middle school students were able to design and create during the summer, and hope they will take their experiences from the Summer Enrichment Program and use them to further advance their goals and our City,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“Early exposure to STEAM studies instills a scientific curiosity in students that will serve them throughout their academic career. I commend the Department of Design and Construction for providing these Bronx middle school students with an innovative and engaging approach to real life application of STEAM sciences and for their commitment to expanding our young people’s horizons. This middle school enrichment program would not be possible without the partnership of DYCD and DOE and I thank them and Mayor de Blasio for coming together to bring this invaluable opportunity to the students of the Bronx,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.

DDC STEAM started in 2014 to establish a diverse and inclusive pipeline for New York City's youth to engage in the architecture, construction, and engineering industries. Students in the Middle School Summer Enrichment Program will receive free backpacks, books on construction so they can pursue their learning, and certificates of completion.

On Monday August 1st, all DDC middle school students, high school interns, and college interns will participate in a Community Service Day at MS 22, gardening on school grounds, painting, and holding a food drive to help promote the health and progression of the community.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit