Children CoCreate

Children as Co-Creators of the Urban Space

Swedish research project 2017–2019

University of Gothenburg

Funder: Formas

The project was about how children and youth can have more substantial impact on urban development and focused on three questions: (a) how children as part of their school work can become co-creators of urban space, (b) in what way ICT-tools can facilitate this process, and (c) how to establish a continuous dialogue between school children and planners in urban transformation processes.

The case study for the project was an urban transformation process in a stigmatized suburb of Gothenburg, Hammarkullen, which focuses both physical aspects and social problems. Ensuing the UNCRC, the co-creators in this project were children and youths in a local school. The study was based on ethnographic and participatory action research approaches, and carried out in co-operation with teachers in the Nytorp school and stakeholders in the municipality with special assignments to work with citizen dialogue. The theoretical framework included theories of empowerment, deliberative democracy, and participatory action research. The research was carried out in two parallel and intertwined phases. In the ethnographic phase children and teachers were involved as both informants and co-researchers. The phase of participatory action research consisted of workshops in the school, led by pedagogical experts, and revolved around testing ICT-tools for co-creation of the urban space. This phase included relating to municipal planners responsible for ongoing transformation process with densification and refurbishment in the case study area.


Sandra Hillén, PhD, Project leader, University of Gothenburg,
Monica Billger, Professor, Chalmers University of Technology,
Lasse Fryk, Senior Lecturer, University of Gothenburg,
Barbro Johansson, Associate Professor, University of Gothenburg
Jenny Stenberg, Professor, Chalmers University of Technology,

Final outreach seminar

At the end of the project, an open seminar was held 2020-02-26 where the case studies and analysis results were presented and discussed. The participants were largely civil servants from the municipality, but also academics and residents from civil society. The final seminar was documented and the discussion was included in the analysis (see Stenberg & Fryk 2021).


Hillén, Sandra & Barbro Johansson (2020). Barn som samhällsbyggare – Delaktighetsprocesser och samarbetsformer i Hammarkullen. I: En lag för barn : kulturvetenskapliga perspektiv på barnrättskonventionen. Karlsson Häikiö (red.)., 55-94. Studentlitteratur.

Stenberg, Jenny & Lasse Fryk (2021). Making school children’s participation in planning processes a routine practice. Societies 11 (1),

Billger, Monica et al. (in prep). Maptionnaire as tool for children and youth codesigning cities (prel titel).