Growing Up in Cities (GUiC) is an international action research initiative to create better cities with children and youth. It engages children, youth and adults as co-researchers in evaluating local environments to plan and implement change.
The project has its roots in the work of Kevin Lynch, who launched a four-country research project with UNESCO in the 1970s. Re-launched in the 1990s, the project has since been active in more than 60 sites in 20 countries.
GUiC network members develop local action research projects in collaboration with community organizations, municipal officials, university-based researchers and young people. The project’s primary focus is on low income neighborhoods and young people living in difficult circumstances.
Through their work, GUiC seeks to:
- Enable young people to voice their perspectives and opinions about where they live.
- Understand how young people perceive and use their environments.
- Create opportunities for child and youth participation and leadership.
- Value young people’s creative insights and capacities.
- Connect young people and adults to advocate for change.
- Educate policy makers, practitioners and the public about research outcomes and processes.
- Transform local environments to make them more supportive places.
In 2005, UNESCO and Cornell signed an agreement for creating the UNESCO Chair for Growing Up in Cities in the Department of City and Regional Planning. Cornell played a central role in this important international initiative, launching new action research projects in New York and Africa and organizing the GUiC+10 workshop at the World Urban Forum in June 2006 in collaboration with Canadian project partners. David Driskell, the UNESCO Chairholder, is now planning director in the City of Boulder, CO.