Tools for young people to create, shape and transform places of their own in the city


The focus group for this project is youth between 14 and 22 years of age. The target communities are ones where resources for youth are scarce. The project process utilizes contemporary precedents for making grass roots public spaces. It benefits from advanced data resources and innovative urban land use methodologies, re-framing them for this unprecedented youth agenda. 


Young people draw from available data-bases to identify viable sites. They will utilize existing GIS database information on city-owned but underutilized parcels within specific neighborhood study areas, parcels too small or inconveniently located for traditional use. These are sites that would otherwise remain vacant. Coincidentally, these sites occur most frequently in the neighborhoods that benefit the most from their re-purposing. 


From this pool of lots, youth will be guided in obtaining temporary-use permits, leases and approvals. Their lease negotiations will utilize precedents for limited-duration use of public land such as parklets, urban farms or pop-up retail vendors.


Design will be based on participatory design process engaging a focus group of young people. Their process will be facilitated by design professionals to follow the steps a traditional project--programming, data gathering, site analysis, concept development and implementation. This approach--more commonly utilized in the design of specialty spaces like hospitals--will engage youth in a generative, hands-on design process that draws upon their own unique vision and experiences.


The underlying attitude of this process draws upon the strength-based approaches used by innovative urban social service providers. The assumption is that youth labeled as at-risk are in fact at-promise, uniquely qualified to identify, design and transform public spaces for themselves.

A Process Built On Precedent, But Unique In Focus

Cityspaceyouthproject is a public space design and acquisition process based on emerging precedents for making cities. Unique is the application of these processes on youth. It is long overdue.