Understanding My Place: Adventure, Play and Belonging was a public engagement process for an Urban Adventure Sports Youth initiative programme. Workhouse Union undertook the public engagement design process from September 2018 to February 2019. Young people were engaged in mapping and design workshops to enable them to consider the open space in their town and to identify their needs and design requirements for an urban adventure sports hub within Letterkenny Town Park.
Though frequent users of public space, young people rarely have the opportunity to participate in designing spaces that suit their particular needs; policies and strategic plans are predominantly vertical processes and less often based on horizontal engagement. Engaging young people from the initial stage of the process yields fruitful ideas about creating outdoor space for public use. To begin, Workhouse Union facilitated eight creative workshops ‘Understanding my Place: Mapping Workshop’ with one hundred and three young people participating. These workshops captured a broad and diverse perspective of young people’s relationship to public space and amenities in Letterkenny.
This was followed by a focused group and individual sessions and conversations with park stakeholders and youth service providers around the two themes of ‘Adventure and Play’ and ‘Belonging and Inclusion’. The final stage of the engagement process focused on design solutions and interventions with the site of Letterkenny Park led by Spanish architect Jon Garbizu and informed by the public engagement.