Join Parsons Badges: Urban Jam

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To The Teenagers of New York City:

New Yorkers are constantly learning. They can’t help it. Every day, the city changes just a little bit – a new building pops up, a favorite restaurant closes, a bus drives along a detoured route. The city evolves, and its residents adapt.

Wouldn’t it be great to get some recognition for all the things we learn just by living in a big city? We get grades for Algebra and English and earn a diploma for surviving high school. Why not get some credit for knowing how to live in the city? Why not get some respect for knowing how the city lives – how it works and how it evolves?

It takes some smarts to be a New Yorker, and it’s about time that counted for something.

Starting this fall, you can rack up some recognition for living and learning in the Big Apple. Join Urban Jam, a self-guided exploration of urban living and the environment in New York City developed by Parsons Badges, an initiative of Parsons The New School for Design. The Urban Jam experience lets you earn digital “badges” for successfully completing a series of explorations and hands-on projects out and about in the city. You’ll earn badges on your own time, completing as many – or as few – projects as you want.

By the time you’ve worked your way through the “badge stack,” you may have…

Drawn maps of your neighborhood;
Photographed the city from a floating balloon;
Interviewed community gardeners;
Toured inaccessible and hidden parts of the city;
Described a day without water in NYC;
Explored street art and graffiti in one of the city’s five boroughs;
Discovered overlooked historical artefacts right outside your door… and much more.

The Urban Jam experience focuses on exploring and understanding the history, ecology, and everyday workings of the city. You will watch videos, read web postings, tour museum exhibits and, most importantly go outside to rediscover New York. To earn badges, you will create photos, drawings, video clips, short essays, and diagrams that track your discoveries.

To sign up, fill out the Form at We’ll be in touch with instructions before the fall. In the meantime, feel free to visit Mozilla Foundation to find out what it means to learn with badges. You may also want to check out and to get to know the programs that support Urban Jam.

Come out and learn with us. New York still has a lot left to uncover.


Parsons GeoSpatial Lab
Urban Jam Team: Liz Barry, Philip Silva, Leif Percifield