Panorama of Leiden

In the Classroom

Cobblestone Stories can be used in many ways in the classroom. Here are some discussion and assignment suggestions designed to promote reflection and analysis.

How would you describe the cityscape of Leiden? How is it different or the same from where you live? Identify some details in your description: sound, signage, architecture, size of spaces, transportation, scale of businesses, etc.

How does the design of Leiden support various modes of transportation? What seems most common? How does using these different kinds of transportation shape the lifestyle of Leidenaars?

What’s your impression of the people living in Leiden? How do they look and behave? How does this relate to the design of the city?

Do you think Leiden has a strong sense of community? Why? How does the built environment contribute to this?

Now, let’s turn some of these questions around. After viewing life in Leiden -

  • How do the transportation/commute options available where you live shape your lifestyle?
  • In what way does the design of your town/city effect your quality of life?
  • Would you describe your town/city as having a strong sense of community? Why or why not? How does the built environment you live in contribute to or detract from your sense of community?

How would your life be different if you lived in a place like Leiden? Would you want to try it out? Why?

With more than one viewing, we begin to notice more details and layers of information within any film; Cobblestone Stories is no exception. By visiting various places in Leiden several times, viewers are invited to build both a deeper understanding of how certain places function and feel, and a mental map of how these spaces are all connected.

Pick a place in Leiden which shows up several times and follow it through the film. Seeing all the shots of the same place will require sharp eyes! For example, the bridge in the first shot after the title animation is also the same bridge Mark and his son cross on their way to school near the end of the film (and shows up several times in between). You could also pick a type of place – (alley, square or plaza, street, canal, bridge, etc..) and follow the same set of questions.

  1. Identify when and where in the film it appears.
  2. Describe the space with as much detail as you can.
  3. Describe how people are using the space and how that varies between seasons, time of day or event.
  4. What urban planning or design principles are at work in this space?
  5. What other spaces are connected to the one you chose? How might this impact the uses of your space?

Choose an urban planning principle such as walkability, connectivity, mixed use or multimodal transit. If you are just getting started, the links here can get you going. Describe the principle then watch the film again and identify and describe several moments in the film where you can see it at work. How do your observations match (or not) to the principle you read about?

Map your way through the film! Using this map, chart the progress of the film through the city. If you get stuck or want to check your answers, you can find the film charted out on Google Maps here.