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Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth

Ce guide pratique s’attache à fournir des outils pour concevoir, organiser et faciliter la participation des jeunes au sein des cités : comment définir la place des jeunes dans la ville en fonction des réalités locales ? Quel est l’intérêt d’une telle démarche ? Comment mettre en place cette participation des jeunes ? Quels outils utiliser (méthodes d’évaluation, enquête, réseau de partenaires, techniques de communication, d’animations de groupes) ? Cet ouvrage s’adresse à la fois aux employés municipaux, éducateurs, ONG et tous les acteurs impliqués dans ce processus de développement local. Les méthodes de travail proposées ont été testées sur site grâce au programme de développement de l’UNESCO « Growing up in cities project », et sont recensées dans un second ouvrage « Growing Up in an Urbanising World ».

Si jeune, civique ! (Association nationale des conseils d’enfants et de jeunes)

‘A practical manual on how to conceptualise, structure and facilitate the participation of children and young people in the community development process. The ideas and methods have been field-tested in a range of urban settings in both developing and industrialised cities through the work of the UNESCO Growing up in Cities project. Covers the benefits of participation, how to organise a participatory project, and participation methods, including informal observations, interviews, drawings, role play, photographs, surveys, focus groups, and workshops and community events. Case studies are used to demonstrate the methods in action.’

Play Today magazine

‘… This book is a welcome and timely addition to the literature on children and young people’s participation. Welcome, because in addition to reinforcing the case for participation, it provides practical, step by step advice on the design, planning, resourcing, implementation and assessment of participation projects. Timely, because of the shift in urban policy away from managed decline and towards the social, cultural and economic regeneration of the UK’s cities and urban areas. Cities are more than their physical fabric, they are about social relationships - without which they would become barren and unbearable places for us – and this is clearly recognised by children and young people. (…)’

Mike Jones, Young People Now

‘As support for young people's participation in community development grows - and it has significantly in recent years - questions like "Is young people's participation really worthwhile?" are heard less and less, and questions like "What methods are proven to be effective?" are heard more and more. Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth is a direct and detailed response to the latter type of question. (…)’

Planum, The European Journal of Planning

Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth: A Manual for Participation is an extremely practical guide to including youth in community development projects. Drawing from the UNESCO-funded Growing Up in Cities Project, the volume helps the reader apply experiences of youth-oriented programs in both developing and developed urban areas around the world. (…) Even for those with considerable experience in involving youth, Driskell offers a good resource to backstop your projects.’  

Journal of Community Development Society

‘(…) The manual is a must for all who are charged with the development of community plans. Moreover, what the manual surely demonstrates is that we should change the way we think about our communities. For too long our society has neglected the value our young people can contribute to the creation of communities that meet the needs of all. The manual offers interesting and importantly workable solutions that must help in creating what we all strive to achieve – a better quality of life!’

Mike Cullis, The Centre for Education in the Built Environment (UK)

‘(…) This is a publication that is very well done, easily readable, attractively illustrated and should become an important tool for all who want to work with children and youth through participatory planning processes.’

Habitat International

‘(…) Each chapter is illustrated with anecdotes and photographs from the case studies described in Growing Up in an Urbanising World. The technique makes Driskell’s advice and instruction clear and credible. The real-life examples help readers envision how the content applies to their own situation, and establishes the efficacy of the techniques. In this way, the two volumes complement each other well. Once Growing Up in an Urbanising World has convinced readers of the need for youth participation programs Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth will show them how to develop one.’

Richard Plate, College of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, Applied Environmental Education and Communication

‘Presented as a «How To» manual conceived fro urban planners, municipal officials, community development staff, non-governmental organizations, educators, youth serving agencies, youth advocates, and others involved in community development, the UNESCO publication Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth attempts to layout a structure for community based projects and an organizational format for institutional and political support for implementation.’

Yasmeen Siddiqui, ArchNet

‘While the case studies and material underpinning this book are said to be from «impoverished communities» it is my opinion that the findings are just as relevant and applicable in «well heeled city communities». It is not a dry academic theoretical text. It is a practical handbook which in my opinion is a must for any public authority or institution with plans to involve young people in participatory planning of any kind.’

Joel Cayford, ecocitymagazine.com

‘This UNESCO publication provides examples and activities that can help young people become engaged throughout their communities. It gives youth participation a global perspective by contextualizing young peoples' engagement within an international movement for citizen engagement.’

The Freechild Project

‘This “How-to” manual is an invaluable resource for architects, planners, city officials, development professionals and anyone interested in creating more child-friendly, humane urban environments and in involving young people, including “marginalized” groups in the process.’

CAP News – The Newsletter of the Commonwealth Association of Planners

‘(…) This is a comprehensive volume. It includes not only an array of tools to use in working with children but also offers advice on the less central areas of concern that can make or break a project - such as staff selection and training, the initial planning for a project, funding concerns, and practical ways to store and manage data. (…)  The core of the book considers four basic areas: the start-up of a project (including meetings with various stakeholders, the creation of a project coordinating team and the selection of children); the evaluation of the local area with children through a range of methods; the analysis of results; and the implementation of a community action plan. (…) The clean, simple layout of the book is a real plus. (…)


‘Published as part of the UNESCO's "Growing up in Cities" project, this manual provides practical guidance for how to plan and implement participatory community development projects involving children and youth. The book is built on several participatory principles: (1) children and youth are valuable contributors to their environments; (2) they are capable of participating in community development planning in meaningful ways; and (3) the planning should lead to changes. The framework of community development projects was tested in multiple sites around the world and is reported in a companion book, entitled Growing up in a Urbanising World. Community development researchers and activists may find many field-tested methods of project organization and management as well as data collection tools practical and helpful. The book is user-friendly with well-organized headings and subheadings and ample graphic illustrations.’

Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education

(…) Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth is well organized and clearly written. This manual provides a useful framework for planning and implementing development projects that engage children and youth in a meaningful way. In particular, use of this manual will help its users to steer clear of the most common pitfalls encountered in these initiatives. That being said, it should not be viewed as a cookbook for youth participation. Driskell’s closing remarks highlight the importance of the non-replicable aspect of these projects: “The magic lies in the people who make participation happen, and the human interactions that enlighten us, inspire us, and- in the end -provide the essential and lasting foundation on which better cities can be built” (176). The manual is a useful tool but building a truly successful project also requires energetic and innovative users.’

Lianne Fisman, Yale/Urban Resources Initiative, Children, Youth and Environments

‘(…) The book could be considered as a manual for the practitioner but it also provides a valuable insight for the theorist. It is easy to write about gaining support and trust with children and youth, but a different undertaking to create a successful outcome. This is the book’s strength. By building the book around the Participation Toolkit, Driskell provides a selection of practical and imaginative concepts for project management in which adults adopt the role of facilitators and young people become team members and actively engage in researching and evaluating their living environment and providing solutions to their defined problems. Practical suggestions are provided to the challenges of developing a representative sample group to ensure inclusion of the ‘invisible groups’ of young people, ranging from children with sensory and psychological impairments to those living in extreme poverty and to those from different ethnic and religious groups. There is a crucial reminder that not everyone has the ability to work with young people and the reader is asked to reflect on their own suitability and limitations.
The book provides a powerful organisational framework for creative problem-solving techniques and participatory planning processes and is a benchmark text for developing good practice. It is a valuable introduction for new entrants to this area, and for experienced community project workers and community planners the book provides an aide-mémoire of project processes and innovative activities that can be adopted and adapted to various community-based circumstances and environments.’

Debbie Hines, Caledonian University, UK, Planning Practice and Research

Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth: A Manual for Participation, by David Driskell, offers a detailed how-to guide to tapping the energy and ideas of young residents of cities in a meaningful way. The techniques have been field-tested in cities all over the world. (…) The book lays out the arguments for involving children in design and planning, not the least of which are that children are particularly vulnerable to environmental threats and have a legitimate right to add their voice to development discussions. “Places that are better for young people are better for everyone,” Driskell points out.
The book uses worksheets, check lists, case studies, simple flow charts, and other user-friendly tools to make the process accessible even to people with little or no experience in public participation processes-or with children. It suggests exercices for children of various age levels and gives detailed guidelines on basic participatory methods, including informal observation, interviews, drawing, activity schedules, family and support networks, role-play and puppetry, guided tours, photographs by young people, behavior mapping, questionnaires and surveys, focus groups and small-group discussions, and workshops and community events.… This publication can be helpful to architects interested in involving children in community design. (…)’

Megan M. Susman, AIA Program Manager, Livable Communities, The American Institute of Architects

« (…) Dans ce manuel, toutes les étapes du processus de sensibilisation et de participation des jeunes au projet de qualité de vie en ville sont décrites dans les moindres détails. Pourquoi faire participer les jeunes aux projets de la ville ? Comment les sensibiliser ? Comment les initier ? Comment les former et engager la participation des jeunes dans un processus durable ? Autant de questions qui trouvent leurs réponses dans ce livre.
Toutes les démarches, les méthodes et les outils sont décrits de manière pragmatique et vivante en prenant appui à chaque fois sur des expériences de terrain tirées du projet ‘Growing Up in Cities’. Chaque outil est détaillé dans ses différentes phases : de la construction des questions, à la mise en place de la technique et à l’élaboration de la grille d’analyse. A l’appui, des figures, des tableaux synthétiques, des diagrammes, des modèles qui rendent l’exposé didactique et accessible à tous les acteurs engagés dans l’aménagement urbain et dans l’amélioration de la qualité de vie des jeunes en milieux urbains. La démarche pour impliquer les jeunes est exposée de façon holistique en prenant en compte les différents contextes de vie de l’enfant. Enfin, cet ouvrage a le mérite de décrire, au plus près du terrain, tous les outils disponibles et utilisés avec les jeunes dans les recherches environnementales et urbaines. » 

Sandrine Depeau, psychologue environnementaliste, Université René Descartes – Paris 5















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