Detroit officials hand the planning baton to kids

Street art in Detroit

Municipality officials in Detroit planning the city’s future taking the view that stuffy meetings held ‘for the sake of meetings’ can be pointless – so why not enlist children’s help in the planning process?

In a city whose neighbourhoods and residents have suffered decades of disinvestment, Detroit’s urban planners have taken a different approach, reports Next City. a non-profit body which promotes social, economic and environmental change through campaigning journalism and events.


The municipality has hired Hector, an external urban design, planning and civic arts studio, to develop a framework which will enable children and youths to interact with their environment, from infancy right through to adolescence.

“We’re getting the voice of youth and using that voice to shape the neighbourhood,” says Dave Walker, design director for Detroit’s west region and manager of the planning effort in Warrendale-Cody Rouge, an area of Detroit which is home to the city’s largest concentration of children.

Draw maps

The plan is to give young people the opportunity to draw maps of the city and play games to show how they get to local parks and where their parents do their day-to-day shopping. Children taking part will be grouped by age, from infant to high school.

This is an edited version of the original article by Serena Maria Daniels. Click here to read it.

Author: Simon Weedy

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