Spaceshaper 9-14

Young people are often overlooked in community engagement, but Spaceshaper 9-14 aims to get them involved in improving their local parks, streets, playgrounds and other spaces.

Spaceshaper works best when a wide range of stakeholders contribute to discussions about improving public spaces. Spaceshaper 9-14 will help young people to:

  • use observational and recording skills to establish current views of a local space
  • develop presentation skills to communicate findings to others
  • understand how different groups make conflicting demands of the same space
  • see how their contribution fits into wider development plans, giving them confidence and opportunities to take part in future development of their public spaces.
  • raise their aspirations about their local space and how much better it can be

They will also have fun during the process!

How does it work?

Spaceshaper 9-14 is for use both in school and with youth groups. It is a workshop-based toolkit that has the flexibility to be adapted to local circumstances. Essential to the process is a trained facilitator, who advises and runs the workshop. 

A site visit is an integral part of the process and is often led by a local expert.  This prepares the participants to assess the space and capture their individual perceptions using the eight Spaceshaper themes:

  • access: finding your way and getting about
  • use: what activities and opportunities the space has to offer
  • other people: how the space caters for different needs
  • maintenance: how clean and cared for the space is
  • environment: how safe and comfortable the space is
  • design and appearance: what the space looks like and what materials it uses
  • community: how important the space is to local people
  • you: how the space makes you feel.

These perceptions are fed into web-based programme to produce a graphical illustration which can be used to prompt further discussion and debate. The session finishes by explaining how this information will be fed back to the client.

Introductory sessions and facilitator training

Contact Kent Architecture Centre to register your interest for free half-day sessions to hear how Spaceshaper 9-14 could benefit your public space projects and Spaceshaper 9-14 facilitator training opportunities

Spaceshaper 9-14 in action

More than 150 facilitators have been trained since we launched Spaceshaper 9-14 in December 2009. These examples show the difference that Spaceshaper 9-14 has made to five projects:

Berners Street playground, Wakefield, West Yorkshire (PDF)

Involving young people in developing plans to transform a run-down playground.

Daisy Fields, Tilbury, Essex (PDF)

Giving young people with disabilities their voice on additional improvements to a play space.

Fortune Green, West Hampstead, London (PDF)

Young people discover ways to improve a valuable West Hampstead park.

St James Park, Southampton (PDF)

Spaceshaper delivers the evidence for a successful £1.5million funding bid for a neighbourhood park.

The Triangle, Cinderford, Gloucestershire (PDF)

Children’s views lead the ideas for improving a streetscape.

Download the flyer

Download the Spaceshaper 9-14 flyer.

Who’s behind it?

CABE worked with beam, the Architecture Centre in Wakefield, as well as the Bristol and Kent Architecture Centres to develop the tool.

We’d also like to thank the Construction Industry Council, Department for Children Schools and Families, The Glass-House Community Led Design, Kids, Play England, make:good, Southampton City Council and the Sustainable Development Commission for their advice and guidance.

Apply to run a Spaceshaper 9-14 workshop

  1. Contact Kent Architecture Centre to get the latest list of approved facilitators
  2. Fill in the application form (download from
  3. Submit the completed form to (we need one week to turn this around).

Any questions, contact Kent Architecture Centre by email or call 01634 401 166.