Civics: Does Secondary Education Enable School Leavers to Participate in Planning Process
Public participation is widely accepted as being an important part of local government and planning processes, both in New Zealand and internationally. However, while there has been an improvement in attitudes and legislation around general public participation, there are still many barriers affecting youth participation in local government planning processes. This research explored the relationship between young persons aged 15- 17 and participation in planning at the local government level, using a case study approach that looked at young people’s participation in local government, environment and planning, young peoples’ interests, and what influences students aged 15-17. This research addressed three research questions. The first sought to establish the current context for young people participating in local government planning processes. The second sought to inquire about the interests of young people. Lastly, the third sought to find out the methods used to engage young people and improve participation in planning processes. The research examined the education system in New Zealand and education in schools to investigate the effectiveness of equipping students with the knowledge to understand, participate in and reflect students own concern around planning related issues. Primary and secondary data collection methods were used to address the questions, with interviews undertaken with local government staff and surveys undertaken by a sample of Year 12 students. The questions in the survey for students covered a broad range of topics and attempted to gauge other social and demographic factors that could affect the students’ responses. The research found that Local Government in Dunedin appears to have some interest in engaging young people, particularly, though the Dunedin Youth Action Committee and the Dunedin Youth Council. However, there are opportunities to enhance young peoples’ participation by incorporating it into the general work environment of the local government. Particularly important as many of the young people who participated in this research were interested in their communities and the environment. Incorporating the views of young people into general work will, however, require some training or more specialised people in this area as professionals are unsure or hesitant about engaging with young people. The research findings identified there are several issues, both locally and more widespread that are of interest to young people, these are the environment and social issues which are inherently planning issues. This research also found that local government in Dunedin could improve their methods to better engage with young people. There was the perception from council staff that young people need to be included better as part of all council processes. The way Council works needs to be improved to be friendly towards young people to create an environment where all staff feel comfortable working with young people, improving both planning processes and community outcomes.
Advisor: Day-Cleavin, Rosalind
Degree Name: Master of Planning
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis