Participatory Planning Pedagogy – A Children’s Right to the City Initiative

This paper describes a Children’s Right to the City initiative of a Canadian provincial non-profit organization. The program and its underlying Participatory Planning Pedagogy (PPP) and curriculum follow a student-led and rights-based approach that builds upon global Child Friendly Cities scholarship. The goal of the program is two-fold: First, to uphold children’s participation rights in local decision-making by ensuring that young people’s perspectives are sought out and included in community planning initiatives, and second, to provide meaningful sustainability and citizenship education through participatory planning, and real-world local problem solving that promotes social change. Working in close collaboration with planning teams of the local municipality, the program is implemented within local public elementary schools. This paper will outline the PPP curriculum’s implementation in practice, present the underlying theories informing this work, and discuss benefits, challenges, and future potential of this children’s rights initiative.