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This fall, Foresite Group’s Dallas office partnered with ASCE Dallas to teach a high school Civil Engineering class at Woodrow Wilson High School. As you read in our blog last week, it is crucial now more than ever to get high school and college students excited about the civil engineering field. Woodrow Wilson High School answers that call by offering a dynamic civil engineering class to help students determine their interests before entering college. As part of this endeavor, ASCE Dallas assists the school with bringing different CE firms in to teach the students about the different types of civil engineering.

Foresite Group had the opportunity to teach the students about Land Development and lead an activity involving laying out a vacant site. Keep reading for instructions on how to bring this simple, educational, and fun activity to your school!

Objective: learn how to work with a team of people with different goals to create a city block site layout that stays within the $35 million budget.

1. Create a pretend vacant city block. With AutoCAD, we created this fictional city block segmented into vacant lots.

2. Determine size and type of buildings. We cut different shapes out of construction paper and defined them as different types of buildings. Each building was assigned a cost to build value. The students had to work together to stay within their $35 million budget. See the diagram below for the types of buildings we used.

3. Assign roles. In the consulting business, it’s not just about staying in the budget, but also about coordinating with many different people with many different interests. Split up students into groups of 4 or 5, and assign them a role. For our purposes we assigned 5 roles: the developer, city planner, economic developer, neighborhood association chair person, and mayor. Click the link to see the descriptions of these roles:

Download PDF • 95KB

4. Develop! Give the students 20-25 minutes to layout their site. Encourage them to continue to play the roles they were assigned.

5. Review. Allow the students to explain their thought process for the site. Guide the students to consider other ways of thinking about things. Why is the grocery store in the middle of the neighborhood? Where are all the residents going to go to school? Why is the homeless shelter in the corner away from everything else?

We hope you can use these guidelines to do the activity in your classroom!

About Foresite Group

Foresite Group is a multidisciplinary engineering, planning, and consulting firm providing services to public and private sector clients nationwide. Our team’s collaborative process results in creative products and services that help our clients achieve their goals. Our team takes pride in enhancing and developing the cities and communities where we live, work, and raise our families.


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