Youth Participation in Planning and Decision-Making:
An Online Resource Guide

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NOTE FOR PLANNERS / DEVELOPMENT PRACTITIONERS

Traditionally, planners have been trained to view "community" in very concrete and specific terms.  Our technical knowlege and skill with land use planning and regulation, while useful, tends to narrow our vision of our work and the potential for our communities.

As "artists of the invisible," planners and other community-change agents need to embrace the full complexity of the process of social transformation - as opposed to reducing our work to a technical operation that attempts to control and/or involves a select few.

WIth advances in science and technology giving us new ways to organize and perceive the world, it is increasingly clear that, in order to remain relevant and in step with the democratic desires of our nation, our "technical expert / master planner" function must be embedded in our greater role as community "catalysts, facilitators, communicators, team-players," and social practicioners.

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Code of Ethics is clear about the need of our profession to focus to the long range consequences of our work, the interrelatedness of our decisions, and to fostering greater public participation - specifically among "disadvantaged groups and persons" - in planning and decion-making.   The need to for planners to work with youth as partners
in community development is essential to achieving these objectives.

Both the American Planning Association (APA) and the National League of Cities (NLC) have launched initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in planning and decision-making. Across the the U. S., young people areincreasingly seeking a greater voice in local development - and demanding thier rights as citizens. As current residents and the ultimate inheritors of the communities
we are planning for,  youth have a vital stake in our work.

It is imperative that we, as planners, utilize our skills to work with youth and other citizens as partners in planning and decision-making.

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Please contact me with your ideas, comments, suggestions or questions

Created May 2004, by Mark Tirpak, MSCRP Student