Co-design with young Aucklanders

A team of BBHTC researchers say there is widespread support for the idea of including of children in urban planning, but inertia because of lack of knowledge on how to go about it.

To address this knowledge gap, the researchers explored effective methods and processes to engage with children in public space design in two public space co-design projects – the Eastern Viaduct on Auckland’s waterfront and the regeneration of the Puhinui Stream in South Auckland.

The researchers say in each case study, on and off-site workshops enabled children to experience and explore the physical landscapes, learn about their history, ecology and current use, and the Council/Panuku brief for their transformation. Using a range of age-appropriate methods – drawing, taking and captioning photographs, making models, talking, exploring, and playing games – children discovered ways to contribute their likes, dislikes and design ideas. The adults learnt to see the sites in new ways through the experiences and creativity of the children, which in turn opened up avenues for further inter-agency and community collaboration.

The researchers say they hope the developed resources will assist communities, local government, and design professionals bring children’s voices to urban design and planning. With the ultimate goal being a more child-friendly public realm.

The team have developed a number of resources to support engagement with children in local government decision-making processes and provided children’s input into the pre-concept and conceptual design stages of the two public space developments.

Following the links below for video resources, a brochure on ‘Tips for designers’, and the longer report of their co-designing with young Aucklanders on the projects.

The research was undertaken by BBHTC researchers Penelope Carroll, Karen Witten, and Teah Carlson from SHORE & Whariki Research, Massey University, and Aynsley Cisaria from Boffa Miskell, in collaboration with Panuku Development Auckland.

‘Kids in the city’ – 15 minutes

A short promotional video of ‘Kids in the city’ – 1 minute

To read the PDF of the brochure and research report please follow the links below.

Carroll, P., Witten, K., Carlson, T. & Cisaria, A. (2019). Co-design with Young Aucklanders: Eastern Viaduct Renewal & Puhinui Stream Regeneration. Report for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Urban Wellbeing, 102pgs. Auckland: SHORE & Whariki Research, Massey University.
Carroll, P., Witten, K., Carlson, T. & Cisaria, A. (2019). Engaging children in public space design: Tips for designers. Brochure for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Urban Wellbeing, 4pgs. Auckland: SHORE & Whariki Research, Massey University.

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Date posted: 2 March 2020