Promotion of child and youth-friendly urban landscapes through participatory research on urban green

The development of child- and youth-friendly cities is becoming increasingly important due to the deteriorating quality of life in urban areas. An important contribution to this relates to the provision of urban green suitable for young people and their involvement in the future design of urban landscapes. However, it must be taken into account that children and the youth make demands on urban green that are often not sufficiently known and which differ from what adults need and from what adults consider important for children and the youth. As a result, the participation of young people in the collection, evaluation and communication of what is important to them with regard to urban green plays an important role. But the involvement of young people in participatory initiatives is difficult, often falls short of expectations and is linked to various open questions, such as what are suitable tools and strategies to inspire and involve children and the youth in participatory initiatives.

With regard to these challenges, „u3Green“ pursues three goals: (1) basic knowledge about the importance of urban green for children and the youth and how they actually use urban green will be gathered; (2) a web-based, child and youth-centric application will be developed to collect, evaluate and share information on urban green; (3) the results on the importance of urban green for children and the youth will be communicated using suitable geovisualization platforms such as interactive online maps and story maps.

Within the framework of various participation formats young people are involved in achieving the “u3Green” project goals using various methods (participatory design, participatory mapping, spatial data science, visual/ cartographic communication) and IT and geoinformatics tools (including ESRI applications). On the one hand, this refers to the participation of school students from the partner schools in workshops and spotlight events in order to discuss questions related to the challenges mentioned above and to develop initial solutions. On the other hand, school students from the partner schools contribute to the detailed answering of the questions within the framework of internships and workshop camps lasting several days.

Especially through the participation formats, "u3Green" supports the training of specialist knowledge and skills in the STEM field (i.e. teaching and study subjects relating to mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology) and other "soft skills" (e.g. science literacy) - in addition to an improved consideration of urban green spaces for young people in planning processes and an increased building of social awareness regarding urban green.

(Photocredit © Uni Salzburg)