Byas: City planning as art

July 4, 2014 

Barbecues, road races, concerts, festivals and fireworks abound in celebration of our nation’s 238th birthday. Most of us will participate in at least one of those activities this weekend, but if you’re looking for a fascinating complement to those traditional activities, visit the main lobby of the historic Terminal Station.

There you will find a free holiday topper, Box City, an exhibit that organizers Jenna Lapachinski and Nicole Kubas believe to be a first in Macon.

A small-scale city planning project made possible by a grant from the Elam Alexander Trust, Box City introduced participants in the Historic Macon Foundation’s summer camp to the principles of urban design and historic preservation through interactive activities. During the week, “city planners” between the ages of 8 and 12 organized, designed and built their own city out of recycled boxes and craft supplies, while they learned about architecture and urban planning.

Activities during the project included walks around downtown neighborhoods for exploration and discovery of local architectural styles. Lapachinski was pleased at how quickly the young planners began identifying different features and making suggestions that ultimately would be incorporated into their city, evidence that participants understood the goals of the project.

A camper named Grace, visiting grandparents in Macon, was excited to show the church with rose windows she finally finished. Indeed, each young planner was focused with intent on completing his or her part of the project.

The result is a city with green spaces, nature trails, neighborhoods with many types of multi-level buildings, and a central park that features a monument to a long-gone imagined hero.

Box City is on display Saturday and every day next week, but don’t worry if you can’t make it to Terminal Station before the exhibit closes July 11. Lapachinski and Kubas plan to feature it again during the classroom session at the Georgia Arts Education Association annual conference scheduled for Macon in October.

First Saturdays

Beginning Saturday and lasting through June 2015, admission to the Museum of Arts and Sciences will be free for everyone on the first Saturday of every month, generously sponsored by Medcen Foundation. Contact the museum for new schedule information and specific details about special activities.

Contact Melanie Byas at

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