Children, the environment and participatory planning

Aisling Murphy, Brendan Murtagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Public participation in the planning system is well established in both academic and practice based research. The failure to engage the 'public' effectively has resulted in costly and unpopular decisions and produced a debate about how, when and with whom to participate. Children have tended to be marginal or ignored in land use planning but this paper suggests that, given the right techniques, they can be articulate, reasonable and clear thinkers about the type of environment they live in and how it should change. It draws on Mental Mapping and Environmental Affordance methodologies to show how eleven year old children can read their neighbourhood, identify barriers and highlight the benefits they extract from a deeper cognitive understating of their place. The paper concludes by suggesting that these techniques are transferable globally, especially where literacy and numeracy is weak and where planners reliance on formalised consultations reflect the interests of state and economic elites rather than the wider population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-9
Number of pages8
Volume4 (2)
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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