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Research article2007Peer reviewed

Using GIS to make young people's voices heard in urban planning

Berglund U, Nordin K


As stated in Agenda 21 it is important for the sustainable society that, young people are afforded the opportunity to influence matters concerning them. The results of the research project upon which this paper is based, stress children’s willingness to communicate their experiences and wishes concerning their local environments. To be efficient this information must be delivered in such a way that it can be easily processed by its target, the local planning authority. Through tests carried out in several schools in Stockholm and in a village in central Sweden, we have developed, a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) application with an in built questionnaire concerning routes and places used by children. We have tested different versions of the application: one with ten- to twelve-year-old children and another with fifteen-year-olds. We have also tested a version focused on traffic safety. Our findings suggest that GIS is effective in engaging children and a good tool for accumulating and processing children’s knowledge about their environment. Students and teachers can use it with a reasonable investment of time. The results also suggested that the method could lead to trustworthy and meaningful information for improved traffic safety in children’s local environments. The paper demonstrates how ‘Children’s Maps in GIS’ can be constructed as a tool for communication between children and local planning authorities


children; youth; urban planning; GIS; participation

Published in

Built Environment
2007, Volume: 33, number: 4, pages: 469-481

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      Economics and Business
      Social Sciences

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