Participatory photography: children's voices in municipal planning

Publication year: 

With a few exceptional cases, children are excluded from municipal planning, and adults represent their needs. Yet involving children makes sense: children have the greatest stake in the future, and involvement helps to develop a sense of place and home, which they are more likely to care for. They also tend to have a more objective assessment of what matters, based on the value of the place itself, in contrast to the more commodity or resource-led values held by adults. This paper reports a participatory planning case involving children in municipal master planning in a fast growing tourism region of S.W. Turkey, the Bodrum Peninsula. Working with the Yali Municipality, students from the University of Colarado looked at how the growth of an area in the name of job creation and a better standard of living affects the essence of the place itself, and how many values are lost. The students used participatory photography to involve the children in this study and the paper explains how they did this. First it looks at the principles and methods of participatory photography, then goes on to examine the childrenÆs places and values, including those of aesthetic value, villages and homes, water features, the public realm, play places, work places, endangered species etc. Lastly it describes how the childrenÆs photographs and stories were displayed along with the studentsÆ own analyses and recommendations at a gathering of residents, city council members, and local professionals. Most of all, it was the childrenÆs photos that enabled the audience to make connections and understand the proposals.

Source publication information
Journal Title: 
Participatory learning and action
No. 52
IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD, UK
Publisher reference: 
International Institute for Environment and Development