272605 Children and youth as catalysts in greening cities and neighborhoods

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Louise Chawla, PhD , College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Bringing green spaces to the places where people live, work, learn and play is essential to reduce barriers to contact with nature, and people are more likely to use and care for these places if they have a role in designing and creating them. Participation in environmental decision-making is part of a comprehensive definition of health, as a sense of competence to shape the environment to fit daily needs is an essential dimension of well-being. Therefore the inclusion of children and youth is not only a way to ensure that green spaces are accessible and attractive for young people, but also a way to foster competencies for long-term care for the environment. A large number of studies indicate that positive experiences in nature in childhood and opportunities to take action to improve the environment are key factors in the development of stewardship. This presentation showcases methods to engage young people in evaluating their environments, identifying existing resources that they value highly as well as problems that reduce their quality of life. Around the world, young people identify the value of trees and safe green spaces and describe how these places are vital to their well-being. Through the example of the Growing Up Boulder project in Colorado, links are drawn between efforts to mainstream child and youth voices into community planning on local levels and two international programs, the Growing Up in Cities program of UNESCO and the Child Friendly Cities Initiative of UNICEF. Both programs provide tools and strategies that cities and towns can use to create mosaics of green spaces that address the needs of children and youth—and in the process, enhance access to nature for all ages.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Name several reasons why access to natural areas is important for child and youth well-being Discuss the value of including young people in green space planning and design Identify global initiatives to integrate child and youth voices into community planning and their application to local planning for parks and green spaces

Keywords: Environmental Health, Pediatrics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a developmental and environmental psychologist, a former coordinator of the Growing Up in Cities program of UNESCO, a current leader of the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Community Engagement, co-editor of the journal Children, Youth and Environments, and author of many publications on young people’s experience of nature and development of stewardship.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.