Involving young people in the world around us

The launch of the PAS Foundation today underlines the growing interest nationally in the places around us and how they are shaped and developed by the communities living in them.

The PAS Foundation supports young peoples learning on planning, architecture, the built environment and climate change. Picture: John Devlin

A culture shift towards community empowerment and meaningful engagement has become the norm for planners, as well as developers and our young are the key to this thriving.

The creation of the PAS Foundation specifically to support children and young people’s learning on issues surrounding planning, architecture, the built environment and climate change aims to pave the way towards this aspiration. It will also help to build active citizenship, inspire entrepreneurship and to find ways to promote knowledge and education about how young people can get involved in their community and have a say.

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All too often young people in particular are unaware of the decision-making process, unable to access information in a fair, balanced and reasonable way and know too little about the opportunities for involvement in shaping places for the future.

However, you just have to look to various social media channels to see to that young people have an opinion on what’s going on in the places they live.

Numerous petitions and interest groups will testify to this.

They know what they like and what they don’t. What they want to see in their town or local area and they have lots of creative ideas and vision. They also have a good level of awareness about the challenges of climate change and want to help alleviate it.

And it is for this reason that the foundation hopes to bridge the gap between the unbridled enthusiasm and passion of young people about the places in which they live and work and the practicalities of how to engage with the planning system and make their voices heard.

The work of the foundation will focus on continuing the good work carried out by PAS over the last 20 years, but also develop and expand on this to provide services for young people free of charge. It is hoped this will allow them to put down roots in their communities, and create a safe and sustainable environment which they can be proud of and maintain for future generations.

Petra Biberbach is chief executive of PAS