Placemaking with Children and Youth

Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities

Foreword by David Driskell, Willem van Vliet

Available in paperback, hardcover, and e-book (also exam or desk copies for instructors) through our distributor NYU Press.

From a history of children's rights to case studies discussing international initiatives that aim to create child-friendly cities, Placemaking with Children and Youth offers comprehensive
guidance in how to engage children and youth in the planning and design of local environments. It explains the importance of children's active participation in their societies and presents ways to bring all generations together to plan cities with a high quality of life for people of all ages. Not only does it delineate best practices in establishing programs and partnerships, it also provides guidelines for working ethically with children, youth, and families, paying particular attention to the inclusion of marginalized populations.

Drawing on case studies from around the world—in Australia, Canada, India, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United States—Placemaking with Children and Youth showcases children's global participation in community design and illustrates how a variety of methods can be combined in initiatives to achieve meaningful change. Whether seeking information on individual methods and project planning or establishing and evaluating a sustained program, readers can find practical ideas and inspiration from six continents to create better cities for all ages.

Victoria Derr is Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at California State University Monterey Bay, where her teaching and research focus on the intersections between sustainable communities, environmental education, and social justice. From 2012–2016, she served as a co-coordinator of Growing Up Boulder at the University of Colorado.

Louise Chawla is Professor Emerita in the Program in Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder. With degrees in Environmental Psychology and Education and Child Development, her research areas are children and nature, children in cities, participatory planning and design, and the development of committed action for the environment.

Mara Mintzer is Director of Growing Up Boulder, a program in the Community Engagement Design and Research Center at University of Colorado Boulder. She writes and speaks internationally about engaging young voices in city planning. She also has designed and implemented many programs for under-represented children and families.


Title Placemaking with Children and Youth
Subtitle Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities
Foreword by David Driskell, Willem van Vliet
Publisher New Village Press
Title First Published 18 September 2018


Foreword by David Driskell and Willem van Vliet


List of Boxes
List of Figures

List of Forms

List of Tables

Orientation to the Chapters

A Word about the Instructions and Time Allocations in this Book

Chapter One: Introduction/Growing Together through Participatory Practice
An International Framework for Children's Participation
Changing Contexts of Urban Planning

Child Friendly Cities

Methods of Participation
Why it Matters

Chapter Two: Supporting Young People’s Engagement
Establishing Programs and Partnerships
Implementing Projects

Sustaining Programs

Chapter Three: Ethics of Participation
Ethical Relationships among Participants

Everyday Ethics in Action

Ethical Methods of Gathering, Sharing, and Using Information

Chapter Four: Understanding Communities through Background Research
Secondary Sources
Demographic Data
Historical Documents

Informant Interviews
Survey Interviews
Informal Observations and "Hanging Out"

Behavior Mapping
Photo Documentation

Before and After Photographs

Chapter Five: Art-Based Methods

Variation: Intergenerational Drawings

Variation: Intergenerational Mural Making
Variation: Banners Collage
Nicho Boxes
Photographic Methods

Photography with Hesitant Youth
Leadership among Farmworker Families, Salinas, California
Storytelling and Writing
Digital Stories
Participatory Video

Three Dimensional Models
Variation: City as Play
Role Plays, Dramas, and Puppet Shows
A Typical Day
Puppet Shows

Chapter Six: Interviews, Focus Groups and Surveys

Adults Interviewing Children
Variation: Interviews with Puppets

Adults Interviewing Other Adults about Children

Children and Youth Interviewing Adults and Other Young People
Focus Groups and Other Group Discussions
Focus Groups
Other Discussion Groups
Activity Diaries

Variation: Aerial Geographic Diaries
Variation: Sunrise to Sunset
Surveys and Questionnaires
Visual Preference Surveys


Chapter Seven: Into the City
Child-Led Tours

Variation: Child-led Tours through Simulated Environments
Variation: Town Trails
Learning Expeditions



Bioblitz Inventories

Software Applications for Site Information and Evaluation
Map Making
Area Sketch Maps
Route Maps
Variation: Sound Maps
Variation: Collage Maps
Variation: Stream or River Maps
Mobility Maps

Community Mapping—Creating and Using a Base Map
Variation: Explorer Maps
Variation: Three-Dimensional Relief Maps
Participatory GIS

Chapter Eight: Workshops and Community Events
Charrettes + Co-Design

Variation: Co-Design Youth Manual
Child-Participatory Budgeting
Child and Youth Presentations

Gulliver’s Footprints
Futures Festivals

Living Laboratories

Improving Community Commons

Chapter Nine: Organizing, Analyzing, and Reporting Ideas
Reviewing Goals and Identifying Outcomes

Analyzing and Interpreting

Expressing Ideas through Young People’s Words and Images
Reports Generated by Young People

Reporting Back to Young People

Chapter Ten: Reflection and Evaluation
Reflection and Evaluation with Adult Stakeholders
The Most Significant Change Technique

Pre- and Post-Photographs

Children and Youth as Evaluators


Working with External Evaluators

Aligning Outcome and Evaluation Measures

Chapter Eleven: Putting It Together and Taking Action
Participatory Schoolyard Design, London, Ontario, Canada

Designing and Child-Friendly Hospital: Phila Impilo!, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Provinces,
South Africa

Designing a Child-Friendly Neighborhood: Dapto Dreaming, New South Wales, Australia
Developing Safe Cities for Children: Safe Community Program, Bhopal and Mumbai, India
Great Neighborhoods: Young People’s Perspectives for a Comprehensive Housing Strategy,
Boulder, Colorado, United States

Move Around and Play in The Hague, The Netherlands

Design-Build with Children to Revive Remnant Public Spaces, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Open Space Planning, Boulder, Colorado, United States

Chapter Twelve: Conclusion



2018 Partners in Prevention Conference
Arlington Convention Center, Arlington, Texas, Sept.25th-27th

Mara Mintzer, co-author of Placemaking for Children and Youth, will be delivering a keynote address at the 18th annual Partners in Prevention Conference, at 12:30pm. From 1:45-2:45, Mintzer will be selling copies of her books at her table, and from 3:45-5:00pm, she will be holding a workshop breakout session.

Placemaking with Children and Youth Book Launch
Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302, October 4th, 7:30pm

Placemaking with Children and Youth Book Launch
Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302, October 4th, 7:30pm

Placemaking with Children and Youth Book Launch
Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302, October 4th, 7:30pm

Placemaking with Children and Youth Book Launch
Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302, October 4th, 7:30pm