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“No one wants us children”: A youth-led approach to improving British streets | Environment

The Sixth Foam group is discussing street play, hide-and-seek, football, and how cars affect how cars use local space.

“I have good memories of playing,” says 17-year-old Sajidur Islam. “A big game of soccer with all your friends.” He thinks young people should be asked more often what they like about their neighborhood. “But I think they like to ask people with degrees.”

Classmate Ahonazaman walks down a dark underpass under the dual carriageway to describe her journey to school. “I love cycling, but it’s too dangerous.”

Living in Poplar, eastern London, these teenagers grow up in very urban areas. Low-rise homes, brightly painted shops, and cramped parks defy the A12’s constant ham. The street is surrounded by major roads and cranes and towers fill the skyline.

Zaman, Islam, and their classmates are gathering in this classroom to work on a radical project. In collaboration with architect Dinah Bornat, we aim to incorporate the voice of young people into the planning process.


Bornat is the Mayor of London’s Planning Advisor and advocate of child-friendly design. She is here at the invitation of the first developer of a local rehabilitation plan, including the local building-and-loan Poplar Haruka and 1,000 new homes in the nearby Abafeldi real estate. Her work, which has been telling children about the neighborhood for years, is underpinned by the streets designed with young people in mind, keeping pedestrians firmly above car users. The belief to put.

Her youth-led approach has become increasingly influential to developers and architects, and has just helped create the free-to-use youth engagement toolkits Voice, Opportunity, and Power. She hopes it will be part of the revolution and encourages developers and community groups to give young people a say in discussions taking place across the country on issues such as low-traffic areas. I am.

At Poplar, Bornato wants to help make a fundamental difference. “Children are being driven to school because the runway to the dual driveway crosses a residential area and it is not safe to walk.

“Young people can’t vote and don’t pay taxes, but don’t want to know their thoughts? Too much focus on negative issues with young people, thinking about their happiness and joy. Is not.”

In a project survey, 89% of people aged 16-18 said they had never been asked to comment on changes in their neighborhood.



Busy A12 traffic through Poplar in eastern London. Photo: Andrew Parsons / REX / Shutterstock

Bornat points out, for example, that the debate over low-traffic areas is intensifying. “Are there any young people who have heard their thoughts? When consultation letters pass through the door, they are opened by adults. Go looking for young people and how they actually go through the space. You need to use it and ask what you want to do there. “

She starts by asking the sixth former how they use the space around them. “Where do you play and hang out with your friends? I think you are experts in what we call the” public realm. ” “

“No one asks us. We are just kids,” says 17-year-old Fatine Quaium.

However, these are well-informed children who are studying geography, including the effects of regeneration where they can see what is happening around them.

They know that adults are discussing how to use roads and are looking at every aspect of the discussion.

Nafisa Ahmed, 18, said: “I live right next to the main road. Road closures, bike lanes, I think it’s a good thing, and it helps the environment.” Her friend politely opposes. Ria Solanki, 17, said: “I think it’s worse for traffic. I just send it another way.”

Thom Palser runs a Spotlight youth project attached to the school and grew up here. He wants developers to use spaces like himself to connect with young people. “When they open their hearts and say what they think they really have a lot to say. These young people care about the whole community and see themselves as part of the wider East End.”

The project is undertaken against a rapidly changing background and has a new political enthusiasm for reducing traffic. Last week, Secretary of Transportation Grant Shaps announced £ 175m in low-traffic areas. This week, the Prime Minister’s 10-point Green Industrial Revolution aims to promote public transport, cycling and walking.

Bornat is optimistic about the growing motivation to listen to young people in the industry. “I’m getting calls from top architects and developers, municipalities, building-and-loans … they’re excited about this approach when I talk to them. When I hear young people talk, they live. It will be an easy place. “

“No one wants us children”: A youth-led approach to improving British streets | Environment

Source “No one wants us children”: A youth-led approach to improving British streets | Environment

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