Four men sitting on the platform
Four men sitting on the platform
Picture by Kat Wilcox via Pexels

When we talk about children and play, we mostly think of idyllic playgrounds with climbing frames and slides for the little ones. But what happens when children have grown beyond that age? Where can we find places for young people and how do these places have to be designed so that they are accepted by young people? What kind of places do young people want?

Public spaces serve young people as meeting places for unsupervised encounters among peers. They meet for informal get-togethers and plan joint activities. They use these places to withdraw from the control of the "adult world", to "hang out" without observation of others and to be only with their own peers. Sometimes the needs of young people collide with those of other user groups of public spaces - e.g. senior citizens who feel disturbed by loud music or children who feel uncomfortable in the presence of young people. Conflicts can arise here that lead to young people not feeling welcome in public spaces and them feeling their needs are "disturbing" others. It is therefore very important to create adequate spaces together with young people, which they can use freely and exclusively.

If young people are to be taken into account in urban planning processes, it is important to envisage clear planning horizons. The adolescent age as spans a time of only six to ten years, while processes of urban development often last several adolescent phases. They are therefore difficult to grasp for young people, who mostly want to start directly with implementation and enjoy the successes of their work. (Temporary) small projects and sub-projects can be a way of actively involving young people in the planning process and achieving short-term improvements that are visible to them. Over time, many sub-projects gradually create urban spaces that take the needs of young people better into account.


Man doing a skateboard trick
Man doing a skateboard trick
Picture by Zachary DeBottis via Pexels.

You want to engage with young people to better understand their views on current urban designs as well as their patterns of the use of urban space and generate potential ideas for changes and projects that better integrate the needs of young people in future urban development. The aim of this task is to offer participation opportunities to as many young people as possible and to sensitise the public in your city/neighbourhood to the interests and demands of young people. As a first step, you offer young people a platform for their views and thoughts on current urban design and how this meets their needs. You want to learn about their usage patterns and understand how the places they use are seen by young people. 

To do this, invite young people to show you their city or neighbourhood through their own eyes and call on them to share photos, videos or comics about and with their favourite places in the city's public space on social media. Give young people an easy-access opportunity to show what they like and where there is room for improvement. Use the attractiveness of new media and distribution platforms to reach young people. Whether short videos, mobile phone clips or reels - be open to new formats and offer young people the opportunity to be creative and express their view of the city in their own language.


Where do young people spend their time in the city? Which places do they love and why? What do they do there? Get in touch with young people through media tools and offer them the opportunity to express their perspectives through creative media. Give young people the opportunity to show you and others their favourite places and say what is important to them there or even what they would like to change.

  1. Call out a video campaign and ask young people to show their favourite places using the hashtag #coolplacesinYOURCITY and give reasons why they have chosen this place. Also ask young people to share what could be improved in their place. To achieve this, use the dissemination channels that young people use: social media platforms. If you would like to know more, read the article How to organise TikTok Giveaways and Contests to learn more about contests using short films on social media.
  2. Let the young people create short videos showing their favourite place, what is great about it or what could be better. You can read examples of successful hashtag challenges in the article 7 TikTok Challenges You'll Love.
  3. Let participants send the videos to you via social media platforms using hashtags or linking the videos to your channels, or create an online platform where young people can upload their short videos.
  4. Offer young people a public platform for their creative videos: organise a public screening, let the public vote on the most creative video or offer a prize for the funniest video which is then publicly awarded.
  5. Engage in a discussion with young people. Listen to them and let them explain their suggestions for improvement. Contemplate together what could be implemented. The list of suggestions could be handed over to the mayor, for example.

Attention! Follow the relevant data protection guidelines when working with young people. Check in advance whether the written consent of a parent or guardian is required to share and show the videos in public! Make sure to use clear and easy-to-understand language for the terms of use in a competition so that young people understand all requirements and steps.

Use the videos and the contact established with young people to actively involve young people in the design of their spaces in the next step. Create space for a community, promote exchange and actively design space.



The contact with young people has been established, you have won them over for your campaign and you know more about their favourite places and why they like them. You have also learned more about what activities young people do there - and perhaps also collected wishes and ideas for improvement. Use this community that has been created to continue working with young people. Take the next step and work out ideas together on how public places can be better adapted to the needs of young people.

The time factor is very important here. Young people do not want to wait years for the next steps to take place. Offer short term implementation: workshops in which hands-on ideas are developed, short-term implementation of their ideas for improvement and the willingness to meet even unconventional ideas with openness. Prepare the next steps even before the start of your campaign and do not risk losing the interest of young people over lengthy coordination processes.

A clear time frame and recognisable, short-term (even partial) results are important for working with young people.


Learning Objectives

  • Participants are able to reach younger target groups for discussions and planning processes via modern communication channels.


  • Participants are able to name channels for addressing young people.
  • Participants are able to name channels for addressing young people.


  • Participants are able to use social media channels as platforms for creative competitions.


  • Participants are able to engage in conversations with young people through visual, creative formats and plan joint activities based on this interaction.