Children’s Participation in Planning and Design

Theory, Research, and Practice
  • Roger A. Hart


Democratic responsibility can be acquired only through practice and involvement. It does not arise suddenly in adulthood through simple maturation; it must be fostered directly from an early age.I believe that the environments we occupy as children and the extent to which we feel involved in shaping them, or caring for them, is a particularly important domain for such learning. Motivating the following account is the general conviction that genuine participation, involving the responsible sharing of power, is critical to the achievement of democracy. What this means for children’s participation is an important question for all of us who work with children, whether in research or in practice. This chapter is a beginning attempt to answer this question. It outlines the benefits of children’s participation in environmental planning and design and summarizes what we know from psychology and other disciplines as a beginning guide to the practice of this all-too-rare activity.


Urban Farm Environmental Planning Community Garden Landscape Architecture Play Environment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amstein, S. R. Eight rungs on the ladder of citizen participation. Journal of The American Institute of Planners, July, 1979.Google Scholar
  2. Bengtsson, A. Adventure playgrounds. New York: Praeger, 1972.Google Scholar
  3. Benjamin, J. Grounds for play. London: Bedford Square Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  4. Boris, J., & Hirschler, G. Living space imagined and actualized by children. Cahier SandozNo. 19, Edition Sandoz, 1971.Google Scholar
  5. Boulding, E. Children’s rights and the wheel of life. Transaction Books, 1979.Google Scholar
  6. Bruner, J. S., Jolly, A., & Sylva, K. Play: Its role in development and evolution. New York: Penguin, 1976.Google Scholar
  7. Bulletin for Environmental Education. Published ten times per year by Streetworks. BEE SUBS, c/o Notting Dale Urban Studies Centre, 189 Freston Road, London W10 6TH.Google Scholar
  8. Buttimer, A. Grasping the dynamism of Lifeworld. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 1976, 66, 279–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Childhood City Newsletter. Participation one: An introduction. New York: Center for Human Environments of the City University of New York Graduate Center, 1981, No. 22. (a)Google Scholar
  10. Childhood City Newsletter. Participation two: A survey of projects, programs and organizations. New York: Center for Human Environments of the City University of New York Graduate Center, 1981, No. 23. (b)Google Scholar
  11. Childhood City Newsletter. City farms. New York: Center for Human Environments of the City University of New York, Graduate Center, Winter 1981/1982, No. 26.Google Scholar
  12. Childhood City Quarterly. Participation three: Techniques. New York: Center for Human Environments of the City University of New York Graduate Center. Double Issue Vol. 9, No. 4 and Vol. 10 No. 1, 1982/1983.Google Scholar
  13. Cooper, C. Adventure playgrounds. Landscape Architecture, 1970, 61 (1), 18–29.Google Scholar
  14. Cooper, C. The house as symbol of self. Berkeley, CA: University of California Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, Working Paper #120, 1971.Google Scholar
  15. Duncan, J. Housing and identity. London: Croom-Helm, 1981.Google Scholar
  16. Eliade, M. The sacred and the profane: The nature of religion. New York: Harvest Books, 1965.Google Scholar
  17. Erikson, E. H. Sex differences in the play configurations of pre-adolescents. American Journal Orthopsychiatry, 1951, 21, 667–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Erikson, E. H. Childhood and societyToys and reasons,(pp. 209–246). New York: Norton, 1963.Google Scholar
  19. Francis, M., Cashdan, L., & Paxson, L. The making of neighborhood open spaces: Community design, development and management of open spaces. New York: Center for Human Environments of the City University of New York Graduate School, 1981.Google Scholar
  20. Frost, J., & Klein, B. L. Children’s play and playgrounds. Chapter 5: Planning for play: Involving parents, children, and community groups. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1979.Google Scholar
  21. Gesell, A., & Ilg, F. L. The child from five to ten. New York: Harper, 1946.Google Scholar
  22. Goodman, P. Growing up absurd. New York: Vantage, 1956.Google Scholar
  23. Halprin, L. Taking part: A workshop approach for collective creativity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  24. Hart, R. A. Children’s experience of place. New York: Irvington, 1979.Google Scholar
  25. Hart, R. A., & Perez, C. The Environmental Exchange Program. In Bulletin of Environmental Education. London: Town and Country Planning Association, September 1981.Google Scholar
  26. Hogan, P. Playgrounds for free. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  27. Isaacs, S. Social development in young children. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1933.Google Scholar
  28. Jones, S. The houses game: Plan your own area. Bulletin of Environmental Education, 1979, 99, 17–20.Google Scholar
  29. Klein, M. The psycho-analysis of children. New York: Delacorte Press, 1975.Google Scholar
  30. Lambert, J., & Pearson, J. Adventure playgrounds. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1974. Landscape Architecture (Special issue: Children Know Best), 1974, 65 (5).Google Scholar
  31. Millar, S. The psychology of play. London: Penguin, 1968.Google Scholar
  32. Muntanola-Thornberg, J. The child’s conception of places to live in. Proceedings of the Environmental Design Research Association, Fourth Annual Conference. Stroudsberg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross, 1973.Google Scholar
  33. Muntanola-Thornberg, J. La arquitectura como lugar. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1974.Google Scholar
  34. Muntanola-Thomberg, J. Strategies for the invention of architectural objects. Unpublished, available from the author. School of Architecture, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, 1982.Google Scholar
  35. Murphy, L. B. Methods for the study of personality in young children(pp. 9–101). New York: Basic Books, 1956.Google Scholar
  36. Nelson, D. City Building Education Programs: A way to learn. Santa Monica, California: Center for City Building Education Programs, 1983.Google Scholar
  37. Nicholson, S. Children as planners. Bulletin of Environmental Education, 1974, 36, 13–16.Google Scholar
  38. Relph, E. C. Place and placelessness. London: Pion, 1976.Google Scholar
  39. Rogoff, B., Sellers, J., Pirotta, S., Fox, N., & White, S. H. Age of assignment of roles and responsibilities to children: A cross-cultural survey. Human Development, 1976, 19: 205.Google Scholar
  40. Rubin, K. H., Fein, G. G., & Vandenberg, B. Play. In Paul Mussen (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology. Vol. 4: Socialization, personality and social development. New York: Wiley, 1983.Google Scholar
  41. Rudofsky, B. Architecture without architects. New York: Doubleday, 1964.Google Scholar
  42. Saegert, S., & Hart, R. The development of environmental competence in boys and girls. InM. Salter (Ed.), Play: Anthropological perspectives. Cornwall, NY: Leisure Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  43. Schwartzman, H. B. Transformations: The anthropology of children’s play. New York: Plenum Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  44. Seamon, D. A geography of lifeworld. London: Croom-Helm, 1979.Google Scholar
  45. Selman, R. L. The growth of interpersonal understanding: Developmental and clinical analysis. ( Developmental Psychology Series.) New York: Academic Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  46. Spivak, M. Archetypal place. Architecture Forum, 1973, 44–50.Google Scholar
  47. Sprague-Mitchell, L. Young geographers. New York: Bank Street College of Education, 1934.Google Scholar
  48. Ward, C. The child in the city. New York: Pantheon, 1978.Google Scholar
  49. Ward, C., & Fyson, T. Streetwork: The exploding school. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1976.Google Scholar
  50. Wilkinson, P. Innovation in play environments. London: Croom-Helm, 1980.Google Scholar
  51. Winnicott, D. W. Playing and reality. London: Tavistock, 1971.Google Scholar
  52. Zerner, C. The Alligator Learning Experience: Children’s Strategies and Approaches to a Design Problem. Los Angeles: Proceedings of the third annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association, 1972.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger A. Hart
    • 1
  1. 1.Sub-Program in Environmental Psychology, Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations