London Festival of Architecture

Young people developed and were supported to deliver youth-led community engagement focusing on London’s public spaces.

Key Project Information

Partners: London Festival of Architecture
Participants: 30 young people aged 12-19
Format: 2-day public engagement

Project Overview

Over two days, as part of the London Festival of Architecture, Open-City’s My City Too campaign took to the streets of London in a Routemaster bus, quizzing more than 600 local people they met on the street about what they wanted in their public spaces across London. Ideas, comments and pictures were gathered on 400 postcards, which were sent to Mayor Boris Johnson and the Greater London Assembly together with a film produced from the event, as well as being presented to Croydon, Wandsworth and Westminster Council to help inform local planning policy.

Aims

The purpose of the project was to develop leadership skills amongst existing My City Too Ambassadors allowing them to take increased control of their campaign and bring their message to a wider group of people through leading their own community engagement activities.

Project Detail

The young My City Too Ambassadors took their bus to three locations over the weekend - North End high street in Croydon, Northcote Road, Wandsworth and Church Street Festival, Westminster - quizzing local people about what they wanted in public spaces across London. During the two days of the event My City Too engaged with 600 people collecting 388 responses on the postcards.
These were disseminated the Mayors Office, GLA and the selected councils to help inform local planning policy.

The young ambassadors also held a street debate with the council’s planning and urban design team and FPK architects in Croydon; Councillor Peter Dawson, Chair of the Children Services Committee in Wandsworth; and Kelvin Macdonald of Urban Initiatives and Financial Times critic, Edwin Heathcote.

The ambassadors brought their campaign to the streets to motivate the wider community to put their opinion forward. They developed social skills by engaging with public and taking their interests in what they would like to see happen. They also put in practice their presentation skills, explaining their campaign and debating with professionals and decision makers.

Achievements

  • More local communities and decision makers are aware of the My City Too Campaign.
  • MC2 have established tried and tested methods that decision makers can replicate, understand and see the ‘value’ in.
  • Young people have expanded their understanding, knowledge and skills about campaigning
  • Decision makers and professionals support young peoples views being included in built environment policymaking

The ambassadors brought their campaign to the streets and motivate the wider community to put their opinion forward. They developed social skills by engaging with public and taking their interests in what they would like to see happen. They also put in practice their presentation skills, explaining their campaign and debating with professionals and decision makers.

It also raised awareness about what the wider community needs are on the built environment and increased their understanding of what spaces are out there and what needs to be done to improve them. They were able to discuss with adults themes like the perception of young people in the public spaces, the needs of the older generations in the streets and open spaces and how to respect the space of the different generations in the public realm.
They were also able to question their manifesto point by speaking to the public.

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"My City Too is proof that young people have a big role to play not only defining their own space in the city, but helping shape the city to be more inclusive for the rest of us. That’s good news for Croydon, where there are more young people than in any other borough in London."

Finn Williams, Urban Designer, Croydon Council

 

“I was delighted that the “My City Too!” bus and its young ambassadors visited Northcote Road on Saturday. They were enthusiastic about ideas and keen to hear from local residents. It is really important that young people make their views known as many planning and development decisions will affect a community for years to come. Initiatives such as this will help them to understand the differing priorities and pressures that have to be considered and will make them more effective advocates for their ideas.”

Councillor Peter Dawson, Chairman of Education and Children's Services Committee, Wandsworth