Garden Villages and Towns

Planning for Children and Young People

Large-scale house building is on the agenda in the UK - the Garden Villages and Towns programme is one part of the planned delivery.  Historically, a major population group with distinct needs - children and young people - has tended to be marginalised within the planning and delivery of planned settlements and this is the focus of our research.

This briefing paper summarises major opportunities for the inclusion of children and young people in the planning and design of Garden Villages and Towns. This work has been made possible by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) project, led by the University of Birmingham – Garden Villages of Tomorrow: translating research findings into practice – which sought to translate the findings of our research into policy and influence the design of these new spaces.

This briefing paper – and the collaborative work that the University is doing with a range of Local Authorities committed to delivering Garden Villages and Towns – hopes to positively influence planned settlements so that they are better places for children and young people to live and grow up in. It provides a short background to the Government’s policy initiative, a summary of progress on the new developments, alongside illustrations of where local planning authorities have begun to consider the needs of children and young people in the planning and design of these new urban spaces. It incorporates learning gained from our wider research base and, in particular, ongoing work to support North Northants Joint Planning Unit on their Tresham Garden Village development.

The full reference for the report is:

Kraftl, P., Hadfield-Hill, S. and Laxton, A. (2018) Garden Villages and Towns: Planning for Children and Young People. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Briefing Report.



Structure of the report:
  • Introduction
  • The research base
  • Garden Villages and Towns – background
  • Progress
  • Key challenges and examples of emerging best practice
  • Recommendations
  • Garden Village project summaries
  • Resources
  • Contacts




Activity: Building a community in a day (Resource pack for engaging children and young people in planning and design)

Time: 1 day of workshop activities 

Size of group: Max 30 young people (split into groups of 5)

Age: This has been designed for young people aged 9-18 (adapted accordingly)

The reference for this resource is:

Kraftl, P. and Hadfield-Hill, S. (2019) Build a community in a day: Resource pack, Accessed from:, University of Birmingham, UK.

Download from here:

If you are interested in using a mobile app in your research or participatory work with children or young people - please see the following report:

Hadfield-Hill, S., Kraftl, P. and Zara, C. (2017) App based tools for participation and urban data collection, University of Birmingham.

We are currently working on an open access version of 'Map my Community' mobile app.  A version will be available to use free of charge.  Please contact us or visit: 


Key resources from our research:

Christensen, P., Hadfield-Hill, S., Horton, J. and Kraftl, P. (2017) New Urbanism, New Citizens: Children living in Sustainable Urban Environments, Routledge

Hadfield-Hill, S. (2012) Living in a sustainable community: New spaces, new behaviours? Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability (Special Issue: Children, Young People and Sustainability), 18, 3, 354-371.

Horton, J., Hadfield-Hill, S. and Kraftl, P. (2015) Children living with ‘sustainable’ urban architectures, Environment and Planning A, 47, 4, 903-921.

Horton, J., Christensen, P., Kraftl, P. and Hadfield-Hill, S. (2014) ‘Walking … just walking’: everyday pedestrian practices of children and young people, Social and Cultural Geography, 15, 1, 94-115.

Horton, J., Hadfield-Hill, S., Christensen, P. and Kraftl, P. (2013) Children, young people and sustainability: introduction to special issue, Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 18, 3, 249-254.

Kraftl, P., Horton, J., Christensen, P., and Hadfield-Hill, S. (2013) Living on a Building Site: Young People’s Experiences of ‘Sustainable Communities’ in the UK, Geoforum, 50, 191-199

Contact us

We are happy to provide more detailed information, or support in implementing any of the recommendations made in this report for either Garden Village developments or any masterplanned new urban development. 

Professor Peter Kraftl
University of Birmingham

Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill
University of Birmingham

This report was based in part on in-depth collaborative research involving several institutions. The details of the projects are as follows:

ESRC ‘New Urbanisms, New Citizens: Children and Young People’s Everyday Life and Participation in Sustainable Communities’ (RES-062-23-1549)PI: Professor Pia Christensen; Co-I: Professor Peter Kraftl; Co-I: Dr. John Horton; Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill

ESRC ‘New Urbanism in India: Urban Living, Sustainability and Everyday Life’(ES/K00932X/2)PI: Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill; Dr. Cristiana Zara

Let's work together

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