City Building (Urban Planning)

June 24-28, 2019 | 9 am to 3 pm

Approximately 80% of Americans currently live in an urban area. But how did we transition from a predominantly rural, agricultural nation into an urbanized, industrial one? More specifically, how did the cities most of us live in become cities in the first place? 

In this one-week course, we will consider how cities “happen"—how and why they are founded and develop, and what makes them work … and sometimes not work. We focus on several of the world’s most famous cities, including San Francisco. We’ll venture out of the classroom on field trips to consider the various physical features that helped determine the evolution and character of our City, as well as visit with representatives of the San Francisco Planning Department to gain insights into the San Francisco of the future.  

Throughout the week, we will synthesize what we’ve learned about urban planning by designing and building cities of our own using urban-planning software.


  • $325 by the “Early Bird” deadline of April 22, 2019
  • $375 after April 19, 2019

Ages: Students entering 7th-9th grades in the fall of 2019

Lunch is included!

Instructor: John Zwolinski
John Zwolinski, AKA “Mr. Z”, is a career educator who has traveled and lived throughout the world, and who has taught in Micronesia, Korea, all over the US, and, most recently, at AP Giannini in San Francisco, where he teaches history and Social Science. He is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and UC Berkley’s Graduate School of Education. He’s enthralled by history of all kinds; loves (loves) to read and write; gets a giddy kick out of teaching and learning with his students; and happily lives in San Francisco’s Ocean Beach Tsunami Inundation Zone with his partner Krista and their 14- and 15-year-old sons.

Located in the

Heart of the city