SFB 1265: Re-Figuration of Spaces
The Spatial Knowledge of Children and Young Adults […] in Planning Contexts
2018 – 2021


The research project addresses the Re-Figuration of Spaces by both exploring changes in the spatial knowledge of children and adolescents since the 1970s and looking at the constitution of space through its significance to (non-formal) educational processes. Moreover, the research explores how the spatial knowledge of children and youngsters is articulated, collected, processed and eventually implemented within participatory design and planning processes. Methodologically, the project comprises a qualitative meta-analysis of about 60 existing (German-, English- and Spanish-language) studies concerned, in diverse manners, with children and/or young people and their spaces as well as spatialities. To this purpose, an interpretative procedure for synthesizing a large number of different empirical studies has been developed. Further, the qualitative meta-analysis is combined with three empirical case studies on the planning and design of urban (public) spaces in Peru, Colombia and Germany. An integral part of these case studies is a collection of narrative maps children and young people create and in which they represent their everyday spaces.

First results of the qualitative meta-analysis indicate that children and adolescents are increasingly and simultaneously embedded in different (also virtual) spaces, which can follow different spatial logics and be located on different scales. Accordingly, children’s and teenagers’ spatial knowledge evinces a heterogenization and differentiation of the spatial structuring of childhood and adolescence. These preliminary observations can be linked to processes of (digital) mediatization and translocalization through an increasing circulation and mobility. Furthermore, there are traces of an increasing pedagogization of spaces – expressed in their specialized and tailored design – for children and young people. Interestingly, these pedagogized spaces are perceived differently by children and adolescents in different contexts and thereby give rise to different spatial practices.



Prof. Dr. Angela Million
Dr. Anna Juliane Heinrich
Ignacio Castillo Ulloa
Jona Schwerer
Julian Kaiser



In our case studies we cooperate with the following planning and architecture offices and initiatives:

Lunárquicos, Fabiola Uribe, Bogotá
CCC – Coordinadora de la Ciudad en Construcción, Javier Vera Cubas, Lima
Urban Catalyst, Berlin

The field research in Latin America is also
supported by Jorge Raedó, Osa Menor.