Growing Up in an Urbanising World

2022 will mark 50 years since the publication of Kevin Lynch’s classical 1972 study “Growing Up in Cities” – a project that investigated adolescent perceptions of their urban environment in four countries.

In light of increasing urbanisation, Louise Chawla revisited the original study in the mid- late 90’s, emphasising active participation of children and youth in planning and urban design in eight cities worldwide. With the continual growth of cities and more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, it would appear timely to revive the Growing up in Cities (GUIC) projects.

Some 18 years since Dr Chawla and the replication teams’ research was published in the form of a book “Growing Up in an Urbanised World” (2001), Dr Beau Beza and Dr Angela Kreutz, from Deakin University School of Architecture and Built Environment, are championing a return to the research.


“The challenge with today’s project is building into the study the vast array of contemporary thoughts on young people and, importantly, considerations of the effects of new technologies on young people’s perceptions and understanding of the urban environment (e.g. use of smart phones and the their effect on urban literacy). …Technologies such as personal computers and smart phones were just not around during the first two studies and the global accessibility these present to young people and us all is fascinating!”

Beau Beza

The 2020 project seeks to include study sites and research teams from Chawla’s replication of Lynch’s research and to include new study cities from around the world. Currently, Dr Beza and Dr Kreutz have secured participant support from Argentina, Australia, Colombia,  El Salvador, India, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA; which will make this study the most globally expansive research into young people’s perception of their environment in contemporary urban life.

The 2020 GUIC replication project honours the spirit of the two original studies, seeking to develop a wider research context as it relates to young people and contemporary urban life.

The GUIC project core is the examination of children’s and adolescent’s use and perceptions of urban space in order to better understand the impact the local environment has on young people’s lives. Following the research trajectories of Lynch and Chawla, the 2020 project continues to advocate for empowering youth through meaningful participation, emphasising inclusive cross-site youth engagement and evaluation. The collaborative GUIC project would integrate issues around urbanisation, globalisation, digital practice and global warming. Interdisciplinary teams and their respective approaches could accommodate site specific considerations and develop methodologies that take advantage of the opportunities and availability of contemporary technologies.

Robin Moore (& Nilda Cosco)
Professor of Landscape Architecture
Director, The Natural Learning Initiative North Carolina State University.
Study Site: Mercedes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Angela Kreutz
School of Architecture and Built Environment
Deakin University
Study site: TBC, Australia

Kelly Greenop 
Senior Lecturer
School of Architecture
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
Logan, Australia

Study site: Braybrook, Australia

Daniela Casanello Frisius
Executive Director at Fundación Ecotopia
Professor in Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Architecture.
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile 
Professor Public Responsibility Track 
Universidad del Desarrollo 
Study Site: Lo Barnechea, Chile

Valeria Flores Laclote
Architect and Landscape Architect, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Master(c) Landscape, Environment and City,
Universidad Nacional de La Plata
Research Director at Ecoplan

Helen Woolley
Reader in Landscape Architecture and Society
Department of Landscape Architecture
University of Sheffield
Study site:  Shanghai and Chengdu, China

Xia Wang
Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture
University of Sichuan University
Study site: Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, China

Pai Tang
Department of Landscape Architecture
University of Sheffield
Study Site: Shanghai, China

Colombia (new site for 2020 study)
Jaime Hernádndez-Garcia
School of Design and Architecture
Pontificia Unversidad Javeriana, Bogota
Study site: Bogata, Colombia

Sabina Cardenas O´Byrne
Associate Professor
Department Art, Architecture and Design / Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Cali
Study site: Cali, Colombia

El Salvador (new site)
Dr Glenda Mejía
Director of Spanish Resource Centre RMIT,
Global and Language Studies, Spanish Studies
School of Global, Urban and Social Studies
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Study site: City TBC, El Salvador

David Driskell
Study site: (TBC) Bangalore, India

Mexico (new site)
Cristina Garduno Freeman
Research Fellow
Australian Centre for Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage
The University of Melbourne
Study site: Coyoacân, Mexico

Nepal (new site)
Beau Beza
Associate Head of School, Teaching and Learning
School of Architecture and Built Environment
Deakin University
Study site: Kathmandu/Junbesi, Nepal

Taibat Lawanson
Associate Professor of Urban Planning
Urban and Regional Planning Department
University of Lagos
Study Site: Lagos

Victor Onifade
Senior Lecturer
Urban and Regional Planning Department
University of Lagos

Dami Oluwo
University of Lagos

South Africa
Katherine Hall
Children’s Institute,
University of Cape Town
Study Site: TBD

United Kingdom
Barry Percy-Smith
Professor of Childhood Youth and Participatory Practice,
Centre for Applied Childhood Youth and Family Research University of Huddersfield
Study site: Northampton, UK

Dr Leanne Monchuk
Senior Lecturer 
School of Human and Health Sciences 
University of Huddersfield, UK 
Study site: Huddersfield, UK

USA (new site)
Patsy Eubanks Owens
Professor, Department of Human Ecology
Associate Dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
University of California, Davis
Study site: TBD

Janet Loebach
Assistant Professor
Design + Environmental Analysis
College of Human Ecology logo
Cornell University

Project Advisors and Mentors

Louise Chawla
Professor Emerita
Program in Environmental Design
University of Colorado Boulder

Karen Malone
Professor of Education & Research Director
Faculty of Health, Arts & Design
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
Department of Education
Swinburne University of Technology