PLACE - Urban Studies

Engaging Community, Leading Change

PLACE (People Leading Across City Environments) is a collection of programs for children and youth from schools around the Portland metro region to be more engaged citizens by making authentic, meaningful, real-world change in their communities.

Students from Catlin Gabel and other area schools participate in opportunities to learn how cities function and amplify the youth voice in making our cities work better for all people.

PLACE programs use a social justice approach to experiential education and real-world learning to raise the stakes for children and youth to share their voice and lead. We help students to become empathic and impactful leaders by providing opportunities to practice working in groups that represent a diversity of perspectives toward common community goals. This allows students to gain understanding of their communities, each other, our differences, and our similarities, and learn to work as a team toward achieving inclusive and community-informed goals.

Most PLACE programs occur at The CENTER (3510 N. Vancouver Ave., Portland), a coalition-led hub for child and youth creativity, education, and engagement. For information and questions, please contact CENTER and PLACE Programs Director George Zaninovich or CENTER Associate Director Sprinavasa Brown '02.

PLACE allows kids to look around them and make a direct impact.

Parent of a PLACE student

I love this partnership that place is making possible between students and the city. We appreciate Catlin Gabel’s sponsorship as well as the participation of students from a variety of schools throughout the community.

Former City of Portland Mayor, Charlie Hales

The PLACE program curriculum guide is an incredible resource. We believe the theme of building community connections is one that will continue to resonate with educators all over the globe. This work has informed our thinking in academic courses, the WO International Center, and the Luke Center for Public Service.

Punahou School Academy Principal, Emily McCarren