Today we will be exploring places in Rochester that contribute to our community’s sustainability. Some of the ways they contribute to flourishing future are obvious and some take a bit of analysis to understand. Once we have explored these places we will build some more background knowledge and map the systems that we have explored. Our workshop will end with a discussion about connections we have made through this experience.

Guiding Questions

  • What role do public places play in creating a sustainable community?
  • What role can you play in creating a sustainable community?
  • How can we use systems thinking to create a sustainable and flourishing future?

Exploring the Systems

The four places are representatives of different efforts to create systems that provide value for people and the ecosystem. They are a good way to think about what goes in and what comes out of institutions and efforts to serve the public. At each place we ask that you explore. Observe and Inquire. We have an expert that can speak to the importance of each place with us today.

  • The Central Library
  • 490 Farm
  • Rochester Public Market
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Park

Understanding the Systems

These resources can help you understand a bit more about the places we visited.

From this point on we will try to think of each place we visited as a system. A system is a group of parts that create something different when they come together.

Mapping the Systems

Using poster paper the next step is to create systems map. This is a great way to make the system visible. The parts of their system and connection to each other will become clearer.

  1. Start by using a circle for each place we visited. We will think of that as a system.
  2. Every system has inputs and outputs. We will use boxes for inputs and outputs and arrows ot show which directions things are flowing. These can be things, ideas, energy. Use your imagination.
  3. Add at least 3 inputs and outputs for each system.
  4. Consider the connection to other systems by adding at least 6 more inputs, outputs, or connections between systems. Feel free to add additional systems.

Evaluate the System

What role do these place play in creating a sustainable community?

  1. Take some time to compare your systems map to the UN sustainability goals
  2. Take some notes about where you see connections between the systems map you made and the UN sustainability goals
  3. Share your thoughts with your group in a round robin.


As a group we will discuss the following in a circle discussion format.

  • What was something interesting you saw today?
  • What was something you learned today?
  • What connections to your life did you make today?
  • What role can you play in creating a sustainable community?