How young people can shape environmental policy in urban spaces

Henn, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-1063-3544 and Sloam, J., 2024. How young people can shape environmental policy in urban spaces. Policy and Politics. ISSN 0305-5736 (Forthcoming)

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Younger generations have become increasingly disillusioned with mainstream democratic politics in established democracies. Although young people are interested in politics and engaged in many issue-based forms of participation, it is hard for them to realise the fruits of their labour at the national level. Local democracy may provide a better opportunity for engaging effectively in the issues that affect young people’s everyday lives. This article examines how Public Value approaches work in practice for young people whose voices are usually excluded from the policy-making process. It draws on participatory research with young Londoners from traditionally marginalised groups. The research was co-produced with the Greater London Authority and the London Mayor’s Office, and involved a complex large-scale multi-stage qualitative research design. In 2019, young peer researchers conducted 30 semi-structured interviews and led a world-café style event involving nine focus groups with 90 youth participants. These were followed-up with four focus groups of 25 young Londoners in 2021. In addition, eight qualitative interviews were conducted in 2022 with London policy-makers, to explore understandings of environmental issues and pathways to engagement with local and civic authorities on these matters. Our research reveals that although policy-makers face important structural challenges, such as the concentration of power and resources in Westminster, they have the potential to move beyond tokenistic engagement with young people. In particular, the results show that how civic and local authorities can build efficacy and trust through initiatives that provide opportunities for deliberation and the co-creation (co-production and co-design) of public policy.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Policy and Politics
Creators: Henn, M. and Sloam, J.
Publisher: Policy Press
Date: 26 April 2024
ISSN: 0305-5736
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 07 May 2024 14:00
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 14:18

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