City as Text

City as Text:

Students will form small groups to explore and interact with the local community through a program called City as Text.


City as Text, a signature program of the National Honors Collegiate Council, is where students immerse themselves in local communities exploring the culture and geography of immediate neighborhoods. This is an opportunity for students to become familiar with new places when they travel. Students are challenged to be sensitive and reflect about the human experience in the local built environment. Students explore the local communities paying attention to the architecture, the people, and daily life activity through interacting with local people and making observations. Images acquired, sounds heard, tastes and smells ingested, and conversations with local residents all become materials contributing to the students experience about not only how much is normally missed in an ordinary day of one's life; but also how much might be seen and heard. City as Text TM is an active learning approach helping students regard the world as a book to be read and to see their journey through it as a cartographer's task of charting the personal paths they take to uncover and discover the surrounding environment.


Students form groups of 3-4 people. Each group has a 3 hour period for exploration. Each group begins their journey in one of the  six neighborhoods comprising the Baltimore City. Ultimately each group will explore as many neighborhoods as possible within the 3 hour timeframe. All groups return a post exploration discussion. Each group elects a spokesperson to give a report summarizing the group's discussion. All students gather together to hear a report from each group.



Talk to local people, patronize local businesses, get some refreshments but do not linger, keep moving, take notes, take photographs, take video, use the electronic story maps for direction and context.