EMPOWERING YOUTH THROUGH PUBLIC SPACE DREAMS AND ACTIONS
Together with the Australian organisation Urban Synergies Group, Dreamtown wrote a web article about our recent trip to Sierra Leone where we co-designes new tools and methods to work with young people and urban public space interventions. The article is published by World Urban Campaign, which is UN-Habitat’s global partnership platform for #UrbanThinkers.
Our project ‘Creating space for young people in urban Sierra Leone is a cross sectoral collaborative effort with Urban Synergies Group, the Sierra Leonean NGO Youth Dream Centre Sierra Leone (YDC-SL), the University of Makeni, and the University of Canberra - Health Research Institute, funded by the Danish Civil Society in Development (CISU).
“All partners recognised the unique value of this project as it delivers not only traditional place making interventions, but transforms the thinking of the youth and empowers them to see their own community in a positive and lovable perspective in which the benefit of working together for a shared outcome ensures that no one is left behind”.
As a response to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in conjunction with the Sustainable Development Goals 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and 17: Strong Partnerships for the Goals, one aim of the project is to co-design targeted public space interventions in urban communities as opportunities to generate ownership and participation for, with, and by youth.
In this unique project, we explore new approaches to reach the overall objective of the project: to improve the wellbeing of young people in urban Sierra Leone, by increasing their meaningful engagement in shaping their local communities and improving access to safe and inclusive public spaces in the city.
“In order to be able to introduce the concept of public space to the target communities, we initially had to gain an understanding of how the space between buildings is perceived locally”.
This includes the establishment of a culture-specific definition for the concept of Public Space; development and testing of the Dream Collection Tool in nine target communities; and training of university students and key personal involved in the data collection of a youth wellbeing survey and its testing in the field.