Young Urbanists

Delivered by:
22 Sheds (North East England)

Project description:
Young Urbanists is a programme for young people that engages them in their local urban environment by helping them identify a site that they would like to change and then work on a design solution to deliver on this site. Working alongside built environment professionals, the project demonstrates the economic, social and political reality of working in the build environment and also empowers young people to develop positive solutions to influence their own urban environment.

Project objectives:

  • Support a culture of active and positive citizenship, building young peoples’ sense of ownership and pride of their place and nurturing leadership
  • Demonstrating to the sector the value young people can bring to the placemaking process
  • Support local young people, especially with backgrounds underrepresented in the sector, to understand the built environment and the career possibilities within it

Outputs from activities:
Young Urbanists produce a range of outputs as part of the design processes they go through within this programme. These include models, film, photography, and collages. Dependent on funding, each programme aims to deliver a temporary intervention within the local area/site that is the young people’s response to the particular problem that impacts on their lives.

Young Urbanist North Tyneside as one example involved:

  • 21 young people / young urbanists
  • 3 teachers / technicians
  • 2 schools
  • 1 local area
  • 2 exhibitions
  • 9 volunteer industry professionals
  • 2 outings exploring the local area
  • 1 funder

Outcomes from activities:
Through participation in the programme young people:

  • develop new skills in leadership, creative thinking, design literacy and gain experience of the placemaking and design process
  • are inspired to think differently about their local area, develop a sense of ownership, build the confidence to influence it through action and can contribute to the cohesiveness of their community
  • gain a better understanding of the professional roles in placemaking and possible career paths into the sector and start to build connections to employers and education route

“A Young Urbanist is a person who through innovation and creation benefits his or her community or self.” Year 11 student and young urbanist.

“This project marks a significant step towards building relations with key organisations, businesses and educational institutions in support of strengthening and building STEM knowledge and experience for students at Marden High.” Year 11 Coordinator

“It was great seeing the students work together to address the questions associated with urbanisation and finding solutions as a team. The project gave the students a great insight into what’s involved in urbanisation and the important role they can play in the design of their future cities,” Jill Porter, Design Technology and STEM Teacher.

Further information: