We let kids design our city -- here's what happened | Mara Mintzer | TEDxMileHigh

  • Published on Feb 1, 2018
  • As adults, we think of kids as "future citizens." Their ideas and opinions will matter someday, but not today -- there must be a reason the voting age is 18, right? But kids make up 25% of the population -- shouldn't we include them in some important conversations? In this inspiring talk, urban planner Mara Mintzer wonders what would happen if we let children design our cities. Mara Mintzer is a founder and the director of Growing Up Boulder, Boulder’s child and youth-friendly city initiative, based out of the University of Colorado-Boulder. She writes and speaks internationally on the topic of engaging young voices in city planning. Prior to working in Colorado, she designed and implemented programs for underrepresented children, families, and neighborhoods in New York and California. She loves to travel and practice her French & Spanish language skills fearlessly. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx

Comments • 1 177

  • Blackwater House Cork

    Horrible Dress

  • jamason951s biggest fan

    I would have added a duck blind

  • Vagabond Wastrel
    Vagabond Wastrel 12 days ago

    Much of thr decisions made by the government shouldn't actually be decided on by the government or a vote. Free markets work better when you just stop putting your finger on the scale.

  • Mathijs Beaujean
    Mathijs Beaujean 19 days ago

    Nothing a few architects/planners on XTC wouldn't have come up with 😄

  • Jacob H
    Jacob H 28 days ago

    Turned out to be a better TED talk than I thought. It was touch and go for a while in the beginning. Was slow to take off, but off it sure went. Solid TED talk, inspiring. We have a lot to learn from children and a lot to remember back when we were kids.

  • Doublepump
    Doublepump Month ago

    I consider children under 5 to be animals Intelligence wise

  • LOL I have a name nobody else has!

    Yeah lady, tell all dem adults. Kids should have a say!

  • Nicco Sepulveda
    Nicco Sepulveda Month ago

    As an 11-year-old, I've broken 4-5 laws. Sitting in the front seat with no seatbelt, littering, trespassing and other minor offenses. So sue me.

  • Cristian Julian Ramirez Amaya

    But Peñalosa is just destroying the parks...

  • Dave Kane
    Dave Kane Month ago

    So Boulder uses child labor?

  • Zidane Steiner
    Zidane Steiner Month ago

    sucks that kids can't play outside unsupervised anymore.

  • black Wolf Prinz
    black Wolf Prinz Month ago

    Not only children
    I cant say if thats an higher IQ thing or because im autistic
    but i also think every life has the same weight
    im the first one that thinks of tortis and frog/toad tunnle below streatsgarden fences that let wild animals like foxes and deers and hadghogs easily ascape when they somehow accedentily got in there ..a animal in panic often can jump higher than a calm one
    and actually hate hate humanity for being so arrogant
    even my father is the same
    we talked about new effordable apartment buildings and all he did was talking about space
    the bulding he said schould be 8 levels high and best 7 of that buildings
    (we talked about unused space behind the central station)
    and i said wait a muinit.
    our city has problems with cooling down in summer so i argumented about greenery and wall hollows for the swifts and a small lake but big enought that the swifts have accsess to drink
    (last summer we had a drough whats unusual for germany so the birds left as soon as possible)
    so in my imagination there was a longer puilding with a stair desing so the first building had two levels the next 3 and so on till the last part had 6 levels (the last one just had solar celss i thought its to high to be used diffrent)
    with some solar panals (smaler ones) and the rooftops had grass on it wich everyone could use as a garden
    there was a playground near the small tiny lake and near the bulding but the playground was far enought from the wall so the sound of playing children would not bother the people that try to have some rest and piece
    i was so upsad that all my father was thinking of was living space no animals nor children where includet
    he did not even thought about the weather changes
    i mean since ever we have warmer and sometimes a more rainy summer here in middle germany but
    after last summer im worried about the nature here
    cause everyone has a positive and a negative
    i mean im happy the mosquitos died nearly out but that means birds and bat's have less food so in the end im sceptical
    so short story long.
    its not only children but people like me are also not taken for full
    cause humen are selfisch
    but people like me knoe
    a humens dead can mean a dear less that get hit by a car
    and at least the dear dose not poison the air

  • black Wolf Prinz
    black Wolf Prinz Month ago

    Ot pnly austrailia
    In germany we have even bigger climbing towers often called spiderwebs by the children
    and zipping lines too
    our playgrounds are not sas safe as the amarican ones but they are more fun and they teach motoric skills to the kids better than a safer one would do

  • Melanie L Hobby
    Melanie L Hobby 2 months ago

    Wow, I didn't expect to get emotional, yet, here we are

  • Luna_Lamb
    Luna_Lamb 2 months ago


  • Downright Clueless
    Downright Clueless 2 months ago

    What about the thirteen year olds? Too old to be a child, and too young to be taken seriously.

  • Marios PRO
    Marios PRO 2 months ago

    Is it just me or are tedtalks getting more and more insane

  • Gandalf the Bronze
    Gandalf the Bronze 2 months ago

    Ruddy ridiculous socialist nonsense.

  • xX_Malakai_Xx btw I'm a girl

    We need to make this real

  • xX_Malakai_Xx btw I'm a girl

    Now I understand why peter pan took wendy to never land

  • CJ Schmitt
    CJ Schmitt 2 months ago

    It's a shame we have to teach the new generation these concepts, where did we go wrong?

  • Frostburn Spirit
    Frostburn Spirit 3 months ago

    A park made out of candy? I think that even at the age of 10 you wouldn't do that if you were trying to build a real city.

    Please come to my school in Sweden I have no reason in life

  • ally.
    ally. 3 months ago

    ‘Zip lines’ ‘climbing towers’
    Excuse me, those are flying foxes and towers of shaking doom

  • Steve Doe
    Steve Doe 3 months ago

    Exploiting children as a resource for their insight is not a new idea. What is a, relatively, new idea is expecting less from their intellect.
    Why? The trend is to delay people joining the workforce. ¿They are not intellectually viable until they start working?
    Used to be no permanent work until after secondary school (high school), now it’s no permanent work until after post-secondary school (Bachelor’s /undergrad / college). This is the trend, does not apply for every case. Society is basically saying, “You are not smart enough until you pass this threshold.”
    Society demands less intellectual capability from their children because it is being deferred to a later time. This will not be fixed by any government institution...local, state, and certainly not federal...which are satisfied if your kid comes home unharmed, forget educated or enlightened (that’s called “babysitting”).
    I challenge the parents to challenge their children. Embrace the Socratic method. Are you raising them to become children, or are you raising them to become adults? Treat them how you want them to be. As much as they are learning, allow yourself to learn from them too.
    (Soapbox disengaged. I just get fired up about kids, eduction, and expectations.)

  • Andra Toma
    Andra Toma 3 months ago

    So true

  • Michael Wendler
    Michael Wendler 3 months ago

    2:54 This laughers speak their own language! YES we need watercannons!

  • Ine Aranda
    Ine Aranda 3 months ago

    *WON't sOmEBodY pleAsE ThiNk Of THe cHILdReN!*

    i'm sorry... i had to...

  • soap
    soap 3 months ago

    She be like Š T Å Ñ Ç Ê

  • AmericaFyeah1776
    AmericaFyeah1776 3 months ago

    You can always count on ‘a different way of thinking about things’ from Boulder, co. Those people are nuts.

  • Six Yellow Zebras
    Six Yellow Zebras 3 months ago

    This is such an inspiring and interesting idea and I think it’s great that kids’ ideas were incorporated!😄

  • 808Wood
    808Wood 3 months ago

    Not the best public speaker. but a lot of people out there are 100% sure 4rth grades could run the world better than our current leadership.

  • Bip901
    Bip901 3 months ago

    For the cost of 1 less building in a neighborhood, you can afford enough trees, benches and special bicycle lanes to fill the area.
    It's totally worth it, and you can also use the space left by the building to build a statue or something.

  • Devon
    Devon 3 months ago

    If I was given a chance to do this at a younger age, I feel I would understand how the government works much more clearly.

  • Maan Appelman
    Maan Appelman 3 months ago

    I love it.

  • Roger Spackman
    Roger Spackman 3 months ago

    My local park has a community hut in it that had originally been used for military purposes during WW2. Needless to say this "temporary" building became past its sell by date for a number of reasons.
    So the community group decided to consult on a replacement building, and a large part of that consultation was about asking young people what they wanted from the new hut.
    On a Saturday they basically had a family day in the park to encourage as wide as possible participation as possible, with different age groups given projects to design what they want.
    Needless to say some of the stuff sounded quite bizarre, or unrealistic, however many aspects of what was being suggested was incorporated, particularly the desire for the building to be eco friendly, and to be as multi-use as possible, and even some of the grander ideas were scaled down and implemented in a more realistic way.
    What appeared on the surface to be paying lip service (in a fun way) to the younger members of the community actually did serve to push for a design of building that met the needs and desires of the community as a whole including the young people.
    So in my experience this sort of exercise is very positive.

  • Amane Kabbaj
    Amane Kabbaj 3 months ago +1

    This is amazing and made me emotional. I was really excited to listen/watch this.

  • wittyclips
    wittyclips 3 months ago

    Next we can have dog parks designed by dogs.

  • Fredministrator
    Fredministrator 3 months ago

    I get the need to plan for children, disabled people, wealth differences and old people. I would even understand the integration of different cultures in a cityplan to accommodate different traditions, religions etc. But why people of colour? What difference would make the colour of your skin to the city planning? If you want to put ppl with darker skin in places with more sun and ppl with lighter skin in places with more shadow, that does seem unessecary to me and would look a lot like seperation.

  • Bess_E
    Bess_E 3 months ago

    Woah what!!!! Does America not have Ziplines?!?! Like all of our parks have those 7 meter spider webs!!

  • IAmAllowedToHateMyLife SoYouCan'tControlMe

    This is so true and so insightful, a very good video everyone should see.

  • Kajus Timofejevas
    Kajus Timofejevas 3 months ago

    Poop canons on flying burning cats

  • That Library Smell
    That Library Smell 3 months ago +1

    My mom always tells me that when she was my age she actually played in nature but whenever I showed her the bugs I caught as a kid she’d flip out and make me throw it back so I guess it was her fault

  • Mara Goetz
    Mara Goetz 3 months ago

    Lol we have the same first name
    👏Thats rare👏

  • Mmm Mmm
    Mmm Mmm 3 months ago

    we live in a society.

  • SotraEngine4
    SotraEngine4 3 months ago

    There is one thing I see as an issue with these plans. Elderly and handicapped that have help by a chauffeur. Or elderly that is too sick to use public transport or to walk too far. What about them? They can be just as neglected as children, although many of us will one day face the same destiny

  • Dirk M
    Dirk M 3 months ago

    Love this !!!

  • HardcoreGamer X500
    HardcoreGamer X500 3 months ago

    When I was younger I had the idea of building a futuristic city that would separate metropolis and nature, large domes would be constructed around each city, and air pumps inside the domes would un-pollute the air, if airplanes wanted to get in the domes are made of hexagons and they would turn so they’d open so that planes could fit through. The wildlife would live outside to be protected from the polluted cities. I imagined using large fans for flying cars and other motored vehicles, everything would be solar powered, and we would start planting trees and plants everywhere, and for every house that was built 30 trees had to be planted.
    This was my idea in 5th grade.

  • HardcoreGamer X500
    HardcoreGamer X500 3 months ago

    This lady for president.

  • This Kid
    This Kid 3 months ago

    I feel like our generation can do better

  • Anthony Hayes
    Anthony Hayes 3 months ago

    I can't recall it's name, but Columbus Ohio has a gorgeous park that this reminds me of.

  • Andyyy Wu
    Andyyy Wu 4 months ago

    yeah like theyre gonna do that where I live. great speech though

  • Princess Alexy
    Princess Alexy 4 months ago

    I full heartedly agree with you lady.
    I’m a teenager who is frustrated by the actions adults make without the consideration of the younger generations even though we will be around longer that they will be but if they changed their ways, let us help them, the world will be a better place.

  • Mandy Tengkono
    Mandy Tengkono 4 months ago

    And they said children are annoying..sureeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee we are sureeee

  • Atharva Choughule
    Atharva Choughule 4 months ago

    Her voice did echo in my headphones

  • B J
    B J 4 months ago

    THIS is thinking outside the box!

  • vallery ducks
    vallery ducks 4 months ago +4

    i, scared bc i dunt feel like a kid when i am, im scared bc i know my mind is closing up to creativity and more to logic and stuff when im only 14. The problem is when teachers ask us to be creative, they are literally forcing us to be creative. They said be creative, draw design smth creative. And me and my friends just go,, what again? what is creativity? It something you go on on yr own to think, draw design. Kids dunt need 50 mins to sit there and think of a design to hand up to the teachers. Kids need to be able to go off on THEIR OWN, or FRIENDS, and not be dragged around and forced to explore things they already know. We dunt need walks in Scinece centre with the teacher telling us you got 5 minutes, take the pictures, observe and write it down. We dunt want to be restricted in an area where we are told to observe a certain thing. We want to stop when we can, admire the small un noticable things that adults overlook or say its not relevant.
    i just want to say im 14 and i can say that forcing, or hurrying us, expecting us to be creative just bc of our age isnt going to help us to be creative.

  • Nico Schurr
    Nico Schurr 4 months ago +1

    I am a 12th grader from Germany and when parts of the park next to our school were to be redesigned, the planners actually turned to us and asked us to think of things we wanted to be implemented and build models of them. At the time I was I think in 9th grade. Together with a few friends, I wanted to design a climbing park, taking advantage of the already existing trees. While they didn't use the trees for that, they took inspiration from us and built a climbing structure that even follows the color palette and some of the design queues from our model. To see that our ideas are valued and that we can help reshape things for the better was a great experience that I hope many more children will encounter.

  • AEO Co
    AEO Co 4 months ago

    6:48 - feminazi alert.

  • BeaglesGuy
    BeaglesGuy 4 months ago +1

    One of the best TEDx Talks I've viewed. Thank you. (60 yrs old here.)

  • James LunarNe
    James LunarNe 4 months ago

    if i lived in this city i’d probably be a lot happier, the environment i’m in affects my mood a lot and this environment would be perfect. and it would keep kids from staying inside on their computers cuz there would be stuff to go and do. i think cities should have certain walls that allow graffiti, so then people can express themselves and make murals and it’ll be expected and nice

  • James LunarNe
    James LunarNe 4 months ago

    i once went to a playground and there was loads of wood and no colours and it just felt like it wasn’t made for kids, like it was just there for decoration

  • Risky Nights
    Risky Nights 4 months ago +1

    Starts at 3:20

  • Blue_ Muffin
    Blue_ Muffin 4 months ago

    they should add some shelters for the homeless

  • A Katsuki-Nikiforov
    A Katsuki-Nikiforov 4 months ago

    fam gets it good ...

  • Just_ Lazara
    Just_ Lazara 4 months ago

    This speaks volumes about how even the smallest ant can gather its colony when water will flood their home. This is why we need to listen to all voices even the smallest ones.

  • rickyboi! 2.0
    rickyboi! 2.0 4 months ago

    parks need hammoks

  • HEY 1234
    HEY 1234 4 months ago

    What an amazing speech. This really shows how we can create a bright future.

  • Eva Stahl
    Eva Stahl 4 months ago

    We are the future! Let us have a say in something.

  • Luke HD
    Luke HD 5 months ago

    2:56 YES! Yes we need that!

  • Mionikoi
    Mionikoi 5 months ago

    Are we listening to immigrants? I think the question is, at what point do we stop listening? Is there a cut off point? Do we differentiate between the classification of immigrants that there are? Do we try to destroy those classifications and lump them all together?
    My statement for the above is that these questions should be asked. And many more. I don't necessarily take a side when I ask them other than the side that believes these things need to be addressed.

  • Augusto de Oliveira
    Augusto de Oliveira 5 months ago


  • Sean Li
    Sean Li 5 months ago

    I came here for learning English.

  • Malachi Jones
    Malachi Jones 5 months ago

    Wow I know this is Ted ed but this is genius

  • James Ray
    James Ray 5 months ago

    "A bridge with water cannons that fire onto unsuspecting kayakers below?"

    Yes, every city needs that.

    NO NAMES MY NAME 5 months ago

    I watched this and as a 13 year old I agree with that woman

  • Malachi Ruddy
    Malachi Ruddy 5 months ago

    this is anther old person generalizing all people between 1 and 18 (notice I said people not kids yes we are people) and thinking that teens have no concept of money or other constraints

  • Quiet Wanderer
    Quiet Wanderer 5 months ago

    Sometimes the childish or rediculus ideas are the very thing needed to make something truly interesting

  • Zen Xavier
    Zen Xavier 5 months ago

    You should paint the city so all the buildings are covered in murals

  • Jason Tan
    Jason Tan 5 months ago

    clickbait. where's the 4 year olds designing the cities? the youngest children were gradeschool, and only submitting ideas. not in charge of actual design.
    So we didn't let kids design our city. We just took their opinions on the matter. The first one is a terrible idea. the second is of course a good idea.

  • Salwa Nausheen Bariah
    Salwa Nausheen Bariah 5 months ago

    This was so emotional...I just turned 19...and I am already wishing I was forever a child....

  • nico
    nico 5 months ago

    Great job, perfect explanation. 👌👍👌👍👌👍

  • Rose Alexander
    Rose Alexander 5 months ago +1

    So Mara and her co-workers were spawned by aliens or something since they have no memories of their own childhoods?

  • Donna Jones
    Donna Jones 6 months ago +1

    We have tried this in China no good dam has hole in middle train tracks go no where planes fly up side down and everyone spy .

  • Alexisis Verbarow
    Alexisis Verbarow 6 months ago

    This really feels like something the teachers just placed upon the kids and they just took it as another assessment project.

  • Simon Cowell
    Simon Cowell 6 months ago +2

    all in favor of replacing the government with children, say i.

  • ATS599
    ATS599 6 months ago

    I love this. The city belongs to everyone and it is time our collective decisions on the future of where we live, work and play need to include everyone.

  • Lily Pily
    Lily Pily 6 months ago +1

    i've climbed the tower at 8:28 . it's great. good sense of risk, but even if you lost your grip (unlikely) the tangle of ropes would stop u before u hit the ground

  • Cathryn Ledbetter
    Cathryn Ledbetter 6 months ago

    This is how kids should actually be taught. Not sitting in desks for hours on end. We need opportunities to leave the school and use our knowledge hands on.

  • Hunter Jaekel
    Hunter Jaekel 6 months ago

    This is why we should have more parkour parks :)

  • xX!6DemiGod9!Xx
    xX!6DemiGod9!Xx 6 months ago

    Why are her legs so spread 😂

  • Green Brain Seaside
    Green Brain Seaside 6 months ago

    let kids bloody skate. all power to them. :)

  • Fusion GPS Integrity
    Fusion GPS Integrity 6 months ago

    Omg the first female president!!! She is strong, bold, and eccentric!!! Vote for woman!

  • Guess my name
    Guess my name 6 months ago

    The SPACE is the limit. Not sky. Skys have the atmosphere to limit imagination. But we kids don't have limits in imagination. Its infinite

  • Someone Unusual
    Someone Unusual 6 months ago


  • Peaceman Red
    Peaceman Red 6 months ago

    What so you Think about the words of Jesus in the Bibel "Be like Children"

  • Half Blood Gryffinpuff
    Half Blood Gryffinpuff 6 months ago

    Also kids are REALLY creative.

  • ElephantsLover
    ElephantsLover 6 months ago

    Kids are so innocent. Theyre the purest form of humanity.

  • Omer mirza
    Omer mirza 6 months ago

    Gap between legs is disturbing mam

  • Downward Spiral
    Downward Spiral 7 months ago

    Homeless people deserve to have more designs that include them

  • D Roe
    D Roe 7 months ago

    Children have, of course, all sorts of ideas, but they don;'t generally understand that ideas are meaningless without the means to create them and maintain them in the real world. But to be fair, most adults don't understand that, either.