Perhaps others of you can remember the first time you were exposed to architecture and/or urban planning? I can. When I was 10 years old we were assigned to create our dream house. The concept was very much like a drafting a floor-plan, completed painstakingly with graph paper - measuring out every square foot.

It wasn’t until I was 19 that the field popped back into my life, with my college professor encouraging the class to attend a public council meeting - to defend anti-development of a parcel of land. Even later on I discovered urban planning could be a career; long after my interests in cultural anthropology and sustainable development.

I was 26 before I entered a masters program for urban planning. While I have no regrets regarding the often-weaving direction I took to arrive at my current field of interest - urban planning - I can’t help but wonder if that direction would have been a bit more straight with some additional childhood inspiration. And today, as I think of my three nieces (pictured below), I want them to be exposed to urban planning in ways that I wasn’t. Not out of the desire to groom a coming generation of planners, although I would gleefully welcome that, but to encourage the next generation towards civic participation.

Nieces Sydney, Kaitlyn and Sarah at the San Diego, California Zoo Safari Park

Perhaps my later-realized passions could have developed earlier from a few of these architecture and urban planning related games and activities, available online (not much of an option during my childhood) - and not. Purus the list and pass along the links to those that are young in your life.

In addition to games and activities that inspire the next generation of urban planners and architects, books are influential in teaching children the importance of community and how a town or city is built and functions - right down to its plumbing. Here are some great books to buy for the children in your life.

Architecture

Urban Planning

Amanda Walter also blogged a comprehensive listing of Children’s Books for Future Landscape Architects (or architects or urban designers or planners) in December 2012.

Is there an urban planning or architecture game or book that you particularly like to share with the children in your life? Is there a game or book missing from the list? Please leave those that I missed in the comments below.

And here’s to the next generation of environmental designers (perhaps even Sydney, Kaitlyn, or Sarah?).