Elevating community geography in the new urban agenda: A global evaluation of an approach to community-level assessment and planning with young people

Authors: Pamela Wridt*,
Topics: Human Rights, Urban and Regional Planning, Development
Keywords: Child and youth participation, local governance, urban environments, community assessments, community geography, informal settlements, adolescent-led assessments
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Stones Throw 2 - Slate, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Habitat-III New Urban Agenda both implicate local governments in ensuring opportunities for age-appropriate and gender-responsive approaches to effective participation and collaboration. This includes government commitment to, and facilitation of, meaningful opportunities for young people to express their views in local decision-making processes. Given young people’s geographies are often spatially limited, the role of community-level geographical analysis in urban governance is increasingly significant, yet not well understood or incorporated into existing data collection processes that inform local planning and development. This paper presents findings from a global evaluation of a participatory, child-rights approach to intergenerational assessment, planning and community development as a mechanism for elevating and scaling young people’s voices in urban governance. This evaluation was conducted within the context of UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative, and employed a mixed-methods design to analyze the process and outcomes of this approach in 54 case studies across 27 countries. The paper focuses upon the challenges and opportunities for community geography in urban governance with young people living in informal settlements and areas vulnerable to climate change. The evaluation identified cross-cutting outcomes among the case studies, including: individual or family outcomes (such as increased awareness of children’s rights and intergenerational empathy); organization or group outcomes (such as improved NGO capacity to implement positive youth development practices); community or municipal outcomes (such as cleaner streets and the establishment of children’s councils); and policy or systems outcomes (such as improved cross-sectoral planning for children).

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