Public open space placemaking suitable for adolescents


  • Laura Kalniņa Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia
  • Ilze Stokmane Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia



Public open space, placemaking, adolescents, teen girls


Children and adolescents have always been an important part of the future of society and the country. Often, the urban environment is subordinated and adapted to families with children, with playgrounds and infrastructure. However, the desire of adolescents to be out in society, in public spaces and to participate in social interaction is not sufficiently supported. Public space is a 'stage' for adolescents to test themselves, their limits and learn social skills, as well as to explore the norms of society and community. The aim of this article is to provide an insight into the principles of designing environments that are suitable for adolescents, with recommendations for the design process of such public outdoor spaces. Analysing publicly available information on the needs of adolescents and the suitability of outdoor spaces for their outdoor activities, it emerges that often the adaptation of urban environments for children or adults contributes to the isolation of adolescents from society, which in turn results in gatherings in unsuitable areas, vandalism and substance abuse. Introducing with suitable case studies in the design of outdoor spaces for adolescent children, we conclude that in order to mitigate the above risks, it is necessary to understand the developmental processes, emotional and psychological characteristics of adolescents, as well as to raise awareness of the basic principles of democratic upbringing in society, and to develop guidelines for the involvement of adolescents in urban planning, which would help municipalities to involve this specific target group in urban planning, ensuring that adequate public spaces are created for adolescents.

Author Biographies

Laura Kalniņa, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia

Mg.arch. research interests - landscape design for public places, placemaking for children and adolescents within an urban environment, communication as important aspect for landscape management. 

Ilze Stokmane, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Latvia

Dr.oec., assistant professor and leading researcher at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Planning, Faculty of Environment and Civil Engineering, Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies. Research interests – sustainable development and resilience, landscape democracy, emphasizing the societal dimension of landscape architecture.


Ramlee, M., Omar, D., Yunus, R. Successful Attractions of Public Space through Users Perception. Environment-Behaviour Proceedings Journal, 2016, vol. 1, p. 188.

Weijs-Perrée, M., Dane, G., Van den Berg, P. Analyzing the Relationships between Citizens’ Emotions and their Momentary Satisfaction in Urban Public Spaces. Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12(19).

Smaniotto Costa, C., Batista, J.S., Almeida, I. Exploring teenagers’ spatial practices and needs in light of new communication technologies. Cities, 2020, vol. 98, 102574.

Bravo, L., Crawford, M. Publics and their spaces : Renewing urbanity in city and suburb. In New urban configurations, R. Cavallo, Ed. The Netherlands: IOS Press & TU Delf, 2014, p. 784–789.

Cheliotis, K. An agent-based model of public space use. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 2020, vol. 81, 101476,

Ziemelniece, A., Ile, U., Stokmane, I. Spatial identity of Latvian cultural landscape within regional context. Landscape Architecture and Art, 2021, vol. 19(19), p. 7–17.

Costa, C. S., Batista, J. S., Menezes, M. What happens when teenagers reason about public open spaces? Cidades [Online], 2021, vol. 43, p. 139–155.

Van Hecke L. et al. Public open space characteristics influencing adolescents’ use and physical activity: A systematic literature review of qualitative and quantitative studies. Health Place, 2018, vol. 51, p. 158–173.

Almeida, I., Batista, J.S., Laourenco, F. Placemaking with teenagers. Experiences driven from thematic workshops on urban planning. In Co-Creation of Public Open Places. Practice - Reflection - Learning, C. S. Costa, M. Mačiulienė, M. Menezes, and B. G. Marušić, Eds. Universidade Lusófona, 2020, p. 109–123.

Sundevall, E. P., Jansson, M. Inclusive Parks across Ages: Multifunction and Urban Open Space Management for Children, Adolescents, and the Elderly. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020, vol. 17(24).

Carmona, M. Principles for public space design, planning to do better. URBAN DESIGN International, 2019, vol. 24(1), p. 47–59.

Gehl, J. Cities for people. Washington, DC: Island Press., 2010.

Janpavle, I., Ile, U. The Importance of Active Leisure Areas in the Context of Urban Planning. Architecture and Urban Planning, 2022, vol. 18(1), p. 120–130.

Honey-Rosés, J. et al. The impact of COVID-19 on public space: an early review of the emerging questions – design, perceptions and inequities. Cities & Health, 2021, vol. 5(1), p. S263–S279.

Design Commission for Wales, Placemaking Charter, [online 20.12.2020.]

Jackson, S. B., Stevenson, K. T., Larson, L. R. Outdoor Activity Participation Improves Adolescents ’ Mental Health and Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic. nternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021, vol. 18, 2506.

Convention on the Rights of the Child, United Nations, 2009.

Barron, C., Emmett, M.J. Back gardens and friends: the impact of COVID-19 on children and adolescents use of, and access to, outdoor spaces. Irish Geography, 2020, vol. 53(2).

Skriver, A., Beery, T., Fredman, P. Outdoor recreation in Sweden during and after the Covid-19 pandemic – management and policy implications. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2022.

Loebach, J., Little, S., Cox, A. The Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Spaces for Young People. Routledge Handbooks, 2020.

World Health Organization, Physical activity, [online 21.11.2022.]

Brunelle, S., Brussoni, M., Herrington, S. Teens in public spaces and natural landscapes. In Handbook of Adolescent Development Research and Its Impact on Global Policy, Oxford Scholarship Online, 2018.

Wray, A. et al. Physical activity and social connectedness interventions in outdoor spaces among children and youth: a rapid review. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada : Research, Policy and Practice, 2020, vol. 40(4), p. 104–115.

Wales, M., Mårtensson, F., Hoff, E. Elevating the Role of the Outdoor Environment for Adolescent Wellbeing in Everyday Life. Frontiers in Psychology, 2022, vol. 13(774592), p. 2016–2022.

Lange, A. Bloomberg. Teen Girls Need Better Public Spaces to Hang Out, [online 20.11.2021.]

Kern, L. Feminist City: A Field Guide. Between the Lines, 2019.

Hochman, S. Women in Urbanism Canada. How to Build Public Spaces for Teen Girls, [online 12.12.2022.]

Passon, C., Levi, D., del Rio, V. Implications of Adolescents’ Perceptions and Values for Planning and Design. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 2018, vol. 28(1), p. 73–85.

Ghani, N., Mansor, M., Zakariya, K. Patterns of Gen Zs ’ Leisure Time Behaviour and Their Needs towards Urban Recreational Park : A Review. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2022.




How to Cite

Kalniņa, L., & Stokmane, I. (2022). Public open space placemaking suitable for adolescents. Landscape Architecture and Art, 21(21), 50–58.