This is one of five ideas we’re sharing for feedback as part of Kittelson’s Equity Challenge, an initiative to develop practical ways to advance equity in transportation. Learn more about the challenge and read the other ideas here.
Equity Challenge: Children Are Often Left Out of Community Engagement
Children have wonderful ideas about how to make cities more livable, accessible, and equitable. They are a unique demographic that rely on walking and biking, and can provide valuable input on their experience using their neighborhood streets.
The places we live are frequently hostile to children, but child-friendly spaces create cities that work better for everyone. Traffic, pollution, a lack of green space, safety, inequity, and isolation all impact children because they are uniquely vulnerable to these to these aspects of cities. If we modify public engagement approaches to prioritize children, we can create better spaces for everyone: safer streets, vibrant green spaces, and intergenerational connections.
Idea: Child-Centered Public Engagement
There are many ways that we can include children in public engagement:
- Include childcare and child-focused activities at public meetings and pop-up booths for children at community events.
- Engage students in classrooms in small groups. Hold assemblies for students to provide input during school.
- Offer student internships which could involve pairing students with professionals to lead public meetings, and having students collect data such as taking photos of existing conditions, collecting surveys, and conducting walk audits.
How This Will Benefit Our Clients & Communities
Creating spaces for children creates spaces for parents and grandparents. Schools are also one of the most diverse spaces we can easily reach. It’s safe to say that no other location in a city has so many people from so many different backgrounds than a public school. At a school, we can reach students, staff, and family members who wouldn’t normally go to a public meeting and get more input and feedback on our work.
I’d love to collaborate! Post your thoughts on this idea, or another idea for advancing equity in transportation, to social media with the hashtag #TransportationEquityChallenge.
I’d also welcome a conversation with you. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the other ideas that came out of the Transportation Equity Challenge here.