Children’s participation in city planning and design has enjoyed increased interest among policyma kers, designers,
and researchers. This activitybuil ds on a well-established body of research and practice that suggests
that urban environments are best planned with the direct participation of children and youth.We believe that
this work has reached a stage of maturityin need of critical re・・ection and review so that it can be more
e!ective in the future.
This paper presents a historical and critical review of children’s participation in cityp lanning and design.
Past participatorye! orts with children are discussed as seven realms or approaches to their child participation.
We characterize these realms as advocacy, romantic, needs, learning, rights, institutionalization, and
proactive.We propose a seventh, proactive realm as a more integrative and e!ective wayto involve children
in design and planning. Utilizing the authors’ own projects as brief case studies as well as research of others,
bene・・ts as well as limits to participation are identi・・ed. Special emphasis is placed on developing critical
theorytha t can be used in future research and practice. # 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd