Torus is currently available for New York City. Tell us to come to your city next

Age 14-18
Program type In School
Meets Three To Four Times A Week Throughout The Semester
Contact us Info@Welcometocup.Org


The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) is a nonprofit organization that uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement.


Urban Investigations are project-based curricula that enable high school students to explore fundamental questions about how the city works, using collaborative research and design.

Each investigation begins with a key question. Where does our water come from? Where does our garbage go? Who owns the Internet? To find answers, students go beyond standard classroom learning and engage in rigorous field research: visiting real sites and interviewing decision-makers and stakeholders. After researching the issue, students collaborate with a teaching designer to produce innovative, engaging multimedia teaching tools. These products are taken up by neighborhood organizations and advocacy groups and used to educate others.

By participating in Urban Investigations, students gain the skills to investigate their own communities. They gain access to the decision-makers that affect the world around them, and engage in active citizenship. Students learn how to creatively communicate their ideas through design. Project-based learning allows students to shine in multiple ways: from interviewing to illustration, from audio production to writing. Students see the city as the product of a decision-making landscape and are empowered to participate in it. The products that students create with a visual artist find real audiences and impact communities outside of the school in arts and social justice fields.

Our work grows from a belief that the power of imagination is central to the practice of democracy, and that the work of governing must engage the dreams and visions of citizens. CUP believes in the legibility of the world around us. What can we learn by investigation? By learning how to investigate, we train ourselves to change what we see.

Urban Investigations work best in afterschool programs or school programs that can accommodate semester-long projects that meet three to four times a week and give the project team the flexibility to leave the classroom for site visits and interviews.


High School Students

How to apply

Sign up or Log in to access application instructions.