Children and young people's participation in planning and regeneration: a final report to the Ecorys Research Programme 2010-11
2011-04-20T16:13:26Z (GMT) by
This briefing paper summarises the findings from research carried out by Ecorys (formerly ECOTEC) and Loughborough University. The study set out to examine children and young people's roles in planning, design and regeneration in the UK and internationally; to map and assess different models of practice, and to locate these practices within wider debates about children's participation and citizenship. It also aimed to review the methods used to measure impact and outcomes in this area. The work was carried out between June 2010 and January 2011, and funded through the 2010-11 Round of the Ecorys Research Programme1. The methodology comprised a review of UK and international research literature, adopting the principles of a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA)2; an analysis of selected UK policy and strategy documents, and a small number of exploratory stakeholder interviews. The research team was supported by an Advisory Group with representatives from policy and academia. The report concludes that the spatial aspects of children's participation crosscut the wider participation agenda, but have too often been overlooked within a service-driven approach to policymaking. There is evidence from research and practice that children and young people can play a significant role within planning and regeneration processes, with potential benefits at individual, peer group and community levels. A stronger evidence base is clearly needed to understand the longer-term impacts in this area. The recent change in government and emerging policies present both opportunities and challenges for children and young people's participation within the UK. There has been a renewed focus on citizenship of sorts, whilst the Localism agenda and Big Society place an emphasis on municipal leadership, which is a characteristic feature of many rights-based programmes worldwide. However, public sector funding cuts, coupled with the dismantlement of the national planning framework arguably run the risk of leaving children more vulnerable to exclusion from local planning decisions that affect their lives. The authors argue that developing a more outward-facing approach, and engaging with the various transnational networks of good practice that have been established around the CRC agenda should be a priority.