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Growing Youth Engagement
Detail: Places to Grow Youth Engagement Project by the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure attempts to establish a blueprint for managing growth and development in Ontario while maintaining economic prosperity, protecting the environment and enhancing quality of life. This is a three month interactive project where youth aged 16 to 18-years-old from across the Golden Horseshoe plan the future of their communities using the government's Places to Grow Plan as a guideline.

This project specifically seeks to engage teens. Young participants get a chance to share their visions for vibrant, greener, and more livable cities with some of the people that will ultimately shape their urban domains. This project, however, is more educational than it is a part of provincial or municipal official planning processes.

The Ontario's Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure promote the project through letters and communique to schools and organizations to reach out to young people interested in urban planning. Students are screened to determine their level of interest and to assemble a diverse mix of participants. Seven or eight youth are selected in each of the communities. The project work begins with them gathering for an orientation and a crash course in urban planning. Students involved were paid an honorarium.

Transit, pedestrian friendliness, improving architecture, enhancing public space, protecting natural features and green spaces and opportunities for renewable energy and conservation were among the elements teams had to take into account. One of the key elements of Ontario's Growth Plan is managing projected growth. Park space, transit density and other growth issues were addressed.

Participants are required to do four individual assignments, which they post online to share with other team members and an advisor. Organizers try to help the teams get their models displayed at city hall and during public provincial events as well as involve urban planners from the local community in the student learning process.
Source: Based on a story by Robert Belgrave in The Brampton Guardian, Thursday June 4, 2009
Date: June 7 2009