Engaging Racially and Ethnically Marginalized Youth as Stakeholders of Outdoor Public Environments

Mariela Fernandez, Brandon Harris, Katrina Black

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Marginalized youth represent a stakeholder group whose views are often overlooked in decisions directly influencing outdoor public environments. Given that urban youth often rely on these spaces for physical and emotional well-being, social interactions, and both cultural and social identity, their input should be incorporated into the design process of these spaces. Yet, the inclusion of youth into the design process is not easy. Society typically depicts youth as a vulnerable population who must be protected; youth are also regarded as a group with limited knowledge or interest to be informed collaborators, which has traditionally limited their ability to participate in decision making. Marginalized youth face an additional set of challenges in terms of their involvement in community-level decision-making processes, such as intimidation and discrimination by those in power, a lack of economic resources, and structural barriers. This chapter examines how community planners can foster the inclusion of marginalized youth into the design of outdoor public environments. In doing so, the chapter answers four key questions: (1) How do marginalized youth benefit from inclusion in the design process? (2) How does society benefit from the inclusion of marginalized youth in public design processes? (3) What does an inclusive design process look like? (4) What can community planners do to ensure that the voices of marginalized youth are heard during the design process?
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Spaces for Young People
Subtitle of host publicationProcesses, Practices and Policies for Youth Inclusion
EditorsJanet Loebach, Sarah Little, Adina Cox, Patsy Eubanks Owens
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780429012822
ISBN (Print)9781138584921
StatePublished - Jun 3 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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