One of the best resources in urban development is often missing from important planning conversations – as community developers, we must ask not what, but who is absent from the table. Youth have amazing imaginations, and when given the opportunity, share thoughtful, creative ideas. We want to design places that anyone of any age can enjoy, so Canopy South asked 6th graders from the Completely Kids program at Highland Elementary School to voice their ideas for the future.

Students participated in a bilingual, English and Spanish, virtual conversation about their neighborhoods, answering questions involving what they loved and what would make their spaces more enjoyable. Using the discussion as inspiration and a provided art packet, each student created their version of an ideal neighborhood.

As the students shared their art, we learned having fun activities and places to visit close to home was a must. Easy access to a coffee shop was also a unanimous priority, with a café for kids being a recommendation. Students also reported safety concerns when navigating streets, describing speeding traffic and feeling riding conditions were unsafe.

Feeling safe and confident navigating their neighborhood streets was critical for these students – especially as they gain independence and expand their areas of exploration.

The Completely Kids Report can be found here.