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It’s been a month since I started staying home for COVID-19, and like many others, I miss going out with friends and hanging out together. Although we have the ability to stay socially connected online, something is still missing. That something is a physical connection to the places where we meet each other.

During this unprecedented time, I’m reminded of the importance of placemaking. Placemaking is creating a shared identity that connects people and the public space they use together. As an architectural designer, I’ve had the privilege of working on a placemaking project in my home city, Toronto.

How It All…

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1. Welcome youth as co-creators.

Acknowledge their capabilities as critical thinkers and doers. Engaging them once is not enough, but actively engaging them as problem solvers throughout the duration of your project will provide added value.

2. Seek trailblazing ideas.

Adults put forward tired, mediocre solutions as they revert back to their existing knowledge about the world. Youth, on the other hand, are not hindered by the baggage of being a grown up and are not afraid to explore more imaginative solutions.

3. Treat youth as experts.

They aren’t who you think (or what the media say) they are. Create space for them at the table and take notes as their unique perspectives will advance your project. …

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