In this 8-step project, students develop an inquiry question based on their interests and research the facts and evidence surrounding that question. They then present their findings and recommendations for solutions.
Some common questions include: How can we make our city parks safer? Why is the subway system so dirty? Where can taxi drivers take a break? The idea is to take a common complaint, connect it to local government and non-government agencies and then help students develop workable solutions to the problem.
All in all, this is a student-centered project that allows the students to take ownership of their work--and their city. Although it's labeled the "NYC" home improvement project, this can be easily adapted for any location, although page 2 would need to be updated for the applicable local government.
This could also be used for service-learning projects by having students actually connect to an organization and volunteer as part of the "solution" process.
Finally, the first step requires 4 readings, which I have included FREE on my store page as "Readings for Step 1 of the NYC Home Improvement Project."