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Digital City-Making: Working w/ Children to Make Cities Better for Everyone

April 17, 2019
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Visiting PhD student Sean Peacock presents his research on using digital technologies to involve children in placemaking.

Children will inherit the cities we shape today. So when it comes to making decisions about cities, why do we leave them out of the conversation? We champion the value of involving everyone in designing their neighborhoods, but leave youth out of the mix. This is problematic when contrasted with the worldwide emphasis on children’s rights, and the need to equip them with vital skills to help tackle critical issues like climate change.

Sean Peacock is a PhD student at Newcastle University, UK and is currently serving as a Research Intern in Engagement Lab. His research centers on designing digitally enhanced methods and tools for involving children in placemaking. In his talk, Sean argues that digital technologies could offer significant promise for involving young people in shaping the cities of tomorrow – today.

Drawing on his ongoing research conducted with elementary school children in Newcastle, UK, he argues that digital methods and tools can be used to invite children’s participation in urban planning. He will show that through the sensitive configuration of appropriate engagement methods, enhanced through digital technology, children have the ability and the desire to debate, critique and reimagine the cities they call home. He also discusses the challenges and tensions emerging through his findings, and sets out his future research plans.

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