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Children’s Rights and Public Space: The Role of Town Planning

Planning impacts on everyone and effective engagement offers the opportunity for people to be involved in shaping the future of their places. However, young people are often excluded from the planning system.

Monday, 29 October 2018 at 5:30PM - 7:30PM
The Urban Room, City of Edinburgh Council, Waverley Court, East Market Street Edinburgh EH8 8BG
RTPI Scotland

It is recognised that this denies them certain rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). In particular, a child’s right to be heard in matters that affect them (Article 12), and the right to play, rest, leisure and access to cultural life (Article 31). The UK ratified this convention in 1991 but it has not yet fed through into the range of policy measures that affect children, amongst these is the town planning system in Scotland.

This talk examines what children’s rights mean for the town planning system and how it can move towards a child-rights informed practice. Case studies involve a live project around a local park restoration with children aged 9-12, interviews with professionals and critical discourse analysis of policy. By bringing insights from other disciplines, empirical work and analysis, the talk looks at ways to make the participation of children more achievable in Scotland. It also reflects on the growing movement for child friendly cities. 

This Chapter event is particularly topical, within the context of the Scottish Planning Bill and the Year of Young People 2018. A recent survey aimed at gathering the views of young people (12-25) on the proposed changes to the planning system identified that their prior knowledge of the planning system was generally poor. Of the respondents 78% also thought a duty should be introduced on community bodies drafting a Local Place Plan to consult with young people. 

Our speakers for this event are Jenny Wood (Heriot Watt) and Erin Fulton (PAS). Jenny is a Research Associate at Heriot-Watt University’s Institute of Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE). She is also a trained town planner and completed her PhD at Heriot-Watt University in 2016, where she explored the relationship between the Scottish town planning system and children’s rights. She is a founding board member of new charity A Place in Childhood (APiC) which seeks to enhance the implementation of child friendly environments. Erin is the Volunteers and Interns Manager at PAS. On graduating she worked with RSPB and has held a number of voluntary roles with Girlguiding Scotland.