Young Planners Programme

The Young Planners programme is a capacity building cross-departmental initiative aimed at local authority planning departments and youth services in Greater London.

Key Project Information

Partners: Supported by the Department for Education, in partnership with 15 London local authorities.
Participants: Young people aged 12-19
Format: Training workshops, local action research projects, intergenerational events and seminars.

Project Overview

The programme is a free initiative for 15 pilot London local authorities, funded over a two-year period to train dedicated groups of local young people to understand basic planning and design issues. The training enables them to work directly with their councils to improve their local spaces and places.

The programme has initiated cross-department, intergenerational activity between planning departments, youth services and young people through workshops and local panel meetings, supporting young people to become part of the decision-making process at a local level.


The ultimate goal is to support local authority planning and youth services departments in recruiting and establishing their own local panels, led by the newly skilled young people, that will inform and assist with the creation and delivery of borough-wide planning and built environment policy.

As part of the process, the Young Planners programme aims to:

  • Build capacity and skills of young people within specified local boroughs, to better understand planning and design with their area
  • Build capacity between planning departments and youth services to enable informed young people to take part in decision-making processes around future local spaces.
  • Initiate process to establish sustainable mechanisms inside councils to allow young people to take part in decision-making processes around spaces.
  • Influence future regeneration schemes in the area, making them more suited to young people and their communities.

Project Detail

The Young Planners programme is part of the second phase of Open-City’s My City Too campaign, which was established in 2007. My City Too works with young people across the capital to enable them to communicate their ideas for future London to those who commission, plan, design and build the city via forums, surveys, workshops with professionals and other activities.

The Young Planners programme has continued this work at a local level, with a focus on informing specific projects and local planning decisions. The participants of the Young Planners programme are also be given the opportunity to take part in the London-wide My City Too ambassador programme.

Activity comprises training workshops, exploring basic urban design principles and planning processes; intergenerational events with local councillors and planning professionals addressing specific built environment issues at a local level and involvement in local development decisions.

Planning and youth services departments have benefited from working together on designing future spaces with an input from local young people. The suggestions from young people on future schemes increases their sustainability for local communities. Alongside training on planning policy and built environment issues, it is the only capacity-building, cross-departmental initiative for planning and youth services councillors and officers in London. 


Young participants have been able to:

  • Learn about design and planning concepts, and how to communicate their ideas and input into projects
  • Build links to their Local Authorities and input into policy

Built environment professionals have been able to:

  • Learn methods of engaging young people and techniques of teaching basic planning and design 
  • Begin to build a core group of young people who can act as ambassadors and mentors to a wider group

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