Children in participatory urban planning

institutional perceptions from Almada and Sintra municipalities


  • Sara Calado Gonzalez Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas - ISCSP
  • Ricardo Cunha Dias Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas - ISCSP
  • Paulo Castro Seixas Centro de Administração e Políticas Públicas - ISCSP


participatory urban planning, children, institutional perceptions


This article analyses the institutional awareness of children's perceptions within municipal urban planning, based on qualitative methods. Within this framework, 7 interviews have been conducted with political actors and administrative staff which are all connected to urban planning strategies in the municipalities of Almada and Sintra. In course of this, a content analysis of the gathered data has been undertaken, through which the following results have been reached: municipal actors continue to emancipate a vision of children's participation in a dependent paradigm, where playing and actively engaging remain the core rights recognized by the city. This is articulated through the need of effective participation in urban planning as it occurs of relevance within institutional discourses, where the sharing of power and responsibility in decision-making dynamics are not yet implemented. This issue exposes a matter between paradigmatic and pragmatic conceptions: the child as a subject of rights, and the child as an instrument of general political performance (or the maximum of consultation and information).


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