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Ideas for Making a Diorama of a Suburban Area

Every diorama starts in a small enclosed space such as a shoe box.
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Dioramas are small, three-dimensional scenes that tell a story. Though dioramas are usually associated with grade-school children, shoe boxes and famous places or people, you can still make a diorama of your local suburban neighborhood just for fun or interest. Making a diorama of a suburban area is also a way to learn more about geography, development and population growth.


You can build a diorama around a landmark such as a bridge.
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Include famous or distinctive landmarks in a diorama depicting a suburban area. Possible suburban landmarks can include an airport, local stadium or playing field, a public park or sculpture or an important building such as the city hall or a community center. Such a model can demonstrate landscaping, city planning and architecture to tourists, investors and students. You can also build your own unique plan for suburban development by building your own scene instead of copying from an existing suburban neighborhood.

Geography and Maps

A diorama can also depict a map, except it has three dimensions instead of two. You can re-create such a map of a suburban area using accuracy as your theme. Use recent maps and news for reference so you can accurately re-create features and scenes that are flat and lack detail on a conventional map, such as trees, bodies of water and human activity. Your geography diorama can include miniatures of people, cars and animals to make it look even more realistic.

Natural Phenomenon

A waterfall can make a distinctive and impressive diorama feature.
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The suburbs are a mix of city and country, so you have the option of using natural phenomena such as waterfalls, mountains or rivers as your diorama's focal point. Clay, plasticine, papier-mâché or plastic can give your diorama more pronounced natural features such as rolling hills or deep canyons, or more modest ones such as hiking trails or the local swimming hole. Students and teachers can use a diorama to show the predevelopment phase of a suburban area.

Memorable Events

The main point of a diorama is to create a scene and tell a story — not just reproduce a small model. Even if no famous historic events have occurred in the suburban area you have chosen to build, you can re-create an incident that was personally important to you or played a pivotal role in the local community. Your diorama can commemorate a local holiday or parade, the first day of school or the completion of a major infrastructure project such as a highway or community center.

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