Focus on the public realm
Very often, conversations will focus on the public realm: the space between buildings, not the buildings themselves. Green space, open space, streets and pavements that have a significant impact on young peoples’ lives. These are perhaps the critical elements from a young adult’s perspective.
Young peoples’ needs are rarely met when it comes to designing the public realm. Mistakes are made that cause problems for years. Young people want to feel part of the community, to feel safe and welcome and to be active outside in their local area.
If this kind of information is fed into the brief at an early stage it can have a major impact on the masterplan, producing clear sight lines and connections, the right kind of benches in the right places, safe loops for walking and cycling, and a variety of spaces to play and hang out for young people of different ages.
Other aspects of a new development which are more closely linked to cost and viability, such as the type of housing and provision of services, are sometimes more difficult for young people to engage with and influence. In our experience, focusing primarily on the public realm allows young people to have a strategic and then a detailed impact on the development and directly supports their needs as active citizens and equal members of the community.
Go to session 1