What is Project Lead the Way (PLTW)?

PLTW is a national nonprofit that develops STEM curricula for K-12 students. At my high school, I am enrolled in PLTW's four year engineering pathway. I started taking this class because I had a growing interest in STEM, particularly in software engineering.

This year I am taking Engineering Design & Development, the capstone course. Normally, students would work together in class to work in groups building a solution to a design problem; but things are different this year!

About Our Project

My capstone group's project is focused on NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard-ism) in Santa Monica. Our research paper (in progress) is available here (only accessible to SMMUSD students).

Problem Statement

“Not in my backyard.”

This is the gut reaction that NIMBYs have when they realize that some form of homeless shelter will be built in their neighborhood. Though homelessness is a well-known and targeted issue in Los Angeles, there still are approximately 66,436 homeless people. In light of COVID, this problem is only compounded. However, the biggest impediment to building new housing and homeless shelters isn’t legislation or funding-- it's overwhelming opposition from people might be affected by the proposed housing solution.

Current Solution

We will start by designing and developing a website where everybody can learn about NIMBYism and their role in it.

Website Outline

  • Landing page
    • What the website is
    • Statistics about homelessness
    • An informative site that examines both sides of the issue
    • Call to action to donate
  • About Us
  • Mission Statement
  • Education
    • Individuals can find information about homelessness such as statistics, guides on how to behave, personal accounts from homeless individuals, and other resources.
  • Donate
    • individuals can find places to donate money, clothes, food, find volunteer opportunities, etc.


You can interact with our UI prototype here.

Cost Analysis

Website cost analysis


02/03/2021 - Choosing a technology stack!

While this list is tentative, we will most likely use the following to build our site:

  • Netlify to host our website,
  • Ghost for our content management system, and
  • Gatsby.js, a static site generator, to code our website.

We will also host our code on GitHub. Once that's ready, I will add an update here.

Made with Gatsby and smiles by Isabelle Wagenvoord