Youth and Planning

Many of the Creative CityMaking teams have been working with youth throughout the year.  Artists reflect on the power of working with youth in the planning process.



Engaging youth in city planning processes related to future transit development has the potential to benefit all. For many young people this may be their first experience learning about city planning. The basic concept of planning – that people make the decisions that have influenced the urban environment that we experience daily – is often received as new information. For youth, this enlarges their scope of knowledge of their city of residence and of themselves. For the planning process, it opens up the opportunity to consider new perspectives on transit development. The future oriented nature of city planning generally aligns with the forward momentum of youth development into young adulthood. This is a naturally transformative time for young people and a time when imaging different scenarios for the future may be especially fluid. In the case of transit planning, youth offer insights into how and where they currently travel and how and where they would like to go in the future. In my experience there is often a greater ease in the process of introducing new approaches rather than engaging in the process of changing existing behaviors and longstanding approaches. An optimistic scenario proposes that the inclination of youth towards the notion of change, to making things better, to shifting the pulse of what seems important is very much in synch with exploring how transit may take form in the future – a future that differs from the current one in terms of modes of transportation, access to transit, and locations of transit station areas.



The Mobile Tracing Unit has been an exciting way to engage with the community. Not only we reached passers-by and drawers, but we provided space for a group of students to gain an in depth look at historic properties and make art in response to it. Most of the students that participated had an interest in art, architecture, or city planning and the workshop gave them 3 months to investigate and find out more about these topics.

The workshop Introduced a group of students to a civic process. One of the students that participated in the teen workshop this past summer, wanted to to continue his involvement with urban planning. Recently, he was invited to be a part of the steering committee of the Holland Neighborhood’s Small Area Plan. Over the span of 6 months, he will help lead groups of community members through a process that will draw a road map for the future of his neighborhood.


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