The Amplifier Effect: Oslo Youth Co-creating Urban Spaces of (Be)longing

  • Ingrid M. Tolstad
  • Aina Landsverk Hagen
  • Bengt Andersen


How can young residents actively co-create and co-design urban space? This chapter aims to share methodological insight on what we call the “amplifier effect”: the co-joined effort of anthropologists, artists, and architects to experiment within a disciplinary framework, to increase youth’s well-being and enhance the participation and influence of youth on policymaking in cities. Based on exploratory ethnographic encounters with minority youth in Tøyen, the eastern part of the capital of Oslo, Norway, we investigate the strengths and failures of experimental engagements, through discussing (1) youth co-exploring their sense of (be)longing and (2) youth as potential co-creators of urban spaces. We discuss key methodological challenges and limitations and conclude with looking at the amplifier’s potential for impact on social change.



We would like to thank our colleagues in the project team: Nina Vestby, Karoline Hjorth, Jenny Osuldsen, Monika Rosten, and Ingar Brattbakk and the students and teachers at Hersleb High School and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), for interesting discussions, active participation, and proposing developing innovative solutions to every possible obstacle.


The pilot project “Alternative Spaces: Youth Stories of the Future” was funded by the Research Council of Norway (PROFORSK, 2015). The ongoing project “Alternative Spaces: Youths’ Participation” is allocated to the Work Research Institute, Oslo, and Akershus University College and funded by the Norwegian ExtraFoundation for Health and Rehabilitation, through Save the Children Norway (2016–2018).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingrid M. Tolstad
    • 1
  • Aina Landsverk Hagen
    • 1
  • Bengt Andersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Oslo and Akershus University CollegeOsloNorway

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