The main focus of today’s PLACE meeting was to begin discussing our project and how we might approach the task of helping to create more youth-friendly public spaces in Portland. Our day centered around meeting with our clients at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. After having a group discussion about our goals and objectives for and questions about the project, we visited BPS to learn more about their vision for the project. One main takeaway from the meeting was that the best way to approach the project would be to develop an evaluation tool, like the one Lizzie Medford developed, for judging the youth-friendliness of public spaces. This tool would effectively communicate our values and priorities for a youth-friendly public space. We also talked about how we might consider redesigning current public spaces to make them more appealing to teens and young adults, or on the other hand, suggest building a completely new public space.
I left our meeting with some remaining confusion, but overall a clearer understanding of how to approach our project. I also had an opportunity to reflect on the general perception of youth and how we can impact policy. Though youth are affected by policy in the many of the same ways adults are, we are rarely involved in policy discussions — and often, public spaces are geared towards young children and adults, leaving youth excluded from the community. I was surprised by how interested our clients at BPS were in the project and in hearing our ideas, and I think this project represents an opportunity for our age group to voice our opinions in the hopes of eventually creating change in our community.