Co-design as a public hearing for children; to enable children without ‘voice’ in public design to be heard. The making of artefacts and on-site interventions engage stakeholders and affect public agendas in a local planning context.

For the attention of: Local planning authorities that work with integrated urban renewal. Architects and planners working with community engagement. Area renewal projects, municipalities involving citizens, public planning projects and planners.

The problem: Children are not heard when it comes to the planning of our towns and cities and public hearings are not addressing children.

What we did: When children are asked ‘what do you want’ their answers are often traditional. But by inviting children to take part in design activities, new answers appear through artefacts.

The design outcomes became a tool for engaging local stakeholders in the discourse around the future design of the site.

The co-design hearing for children became instrumental in aligning the multitude of stakeholders in the discussion of transforming the public green space into a local temporary playscape.

What our study adds: The ‘Move the Neighbourhood’ project made children’s perspectives visible through co-building actions for a design installation in a green public space.

  • A ‘public hearing for children’ invited children to take part in design activities for a local green space.
  • A co-design process can engage children in the development of public neighbourhood spaces as a method for identifying their interest and concerns in order to produce better and more informed outcomes.

In addition, the co-design process itself can create resonance beyond the actors involved and enter into a discursive relation to how visions and perceptions of the public realm are defined and verbalized.

Implications for city policy and practice: The Area Renewal Office was open to the potential outcome of the co-design hearing, and visited the design process every day to interview the children on subjects that mattered to them, and to follow and discuss the built interventions. The office also supported the project by financing the film and part of the project, and committed to taking part in the evaluation during and after the project. Other cities could adopt a similar approach.

Links to other resources and support

Move the Neighbourhood project description: Link

LandscapeArchitecture and Planning: Link

Making the red dot on map, project images: Link

Move the City, project images and video: Link

Instagram documentation of the co-design process can be found at #bevægbyenmedbørn #makingthereddotonthemap by Laura Winge at @laurawinge and Bettina Lamm at @pertempus

Full ArticleMaking the red dot on the map – bringing children’s perspectives to the city planning agenda through visible co-design actions in public spaces

Authors: Laura Winge (‪@Laura_Winge) and Bettina Lamm (@BettinaLamm)
Editor: Marcus Grant