Growing Up In Cities

Growing Up In Cities is the most globally expansive research into young people’s contemporary urban life. Across 18 countries, researchers are examining adolescent's perceptions of urban space to better understand the impact the local environment has on their lives.

About the project

The Growing Up in Cities (GUIC) III project replicates two benchmark adolescent studies done in 1972 by MIT Professor Kevin Lynch and in 1998 by University of Colorado Professor Louise Chawla.

The research themes and findings of GUIC III will continue along the trajectory of the original two studies by focusing on contemporary issues that affect young people such as urbanisation, globalisation, digital practice and global warming.

Project aim

The intent of GUIC III is to empower young people and provide them with a voice that advocates for their health and wellbeing in contemporary urban contexts across the globe.

Through our research we seek to:

  • understand how young people (aged between 10 and 15 years) use and derive meaning from their local environment
  • develop insight into how the urban environment affects their lives, through observation and based on young people’s own words
  • apply this knowledge in support of meaningful change in the design and management of urban places.


The research themes and findings presented in this third iteration of this study supersede the original two studies by developing a wider research context as it relates to young people and contemporary urban life. With continuing urbanisation, key questions that were not part of the 1972 and 1998 projects are explored:

  • What is urban life like for a technology generation?
  • How do technologies such as smart phones and other technological ‘way-finding’ devices impact their knowledge, understanding and experience of the urban environment.

This study addresses questions like these by focusing on achieving the GUIC III project aim and its four objectives.

Objective 1

To determine young people’s use, knowledge and perceived value of their local environment.

Objective 2

To identify with young people issues that influence their wellbeing and quality of life, and opportunities for positive change in their urban setting.

Objective 3

To suggest youth engagement methods that may best be used in particular urban and/or cultural settings (e.g. informal settlements in the Global South versus suburban areas in the Global North), as well as to identify methods that can be used across settings and cultures.

Objective 4

Where possible develop an activity, initiative or project for local and/or cross-site community engagement with young people where outcomes lead to improvements in their lives.

Research team

Project leads and coordinators

Associate Professor Beau Beza
+61 3 52278554
Email A/Prof Beza

Dr Angela Kreutz
+61 3 52479459
Email Dr Kreutz

Researchers and countries

Australia Beau Beza, Angela Kreutz, Kelly Greenop, Steph Wyeth, Kali Marnane, Maram Shaweeh and Bryan Mukandi
Argentina Robin Moore and Nilda Cosco
Canada Juan Torres, Natasha Blanchet-Cohen and David Driskell
Chile Daniela Casanello Frisius and Piera Medina
China Helen Woolley, Xia Wang, Pai Tang and Quinying Zhang
Colombia Jaime Hernádndez-Garcia and Sabina Cardenas O´Byrne
El Salvador Glenda Mejía and Tania Cañas
GermanyAngela Million (Uttke), Anna Juliane Heinrich, Ignacio Castillo Ulloa
India Lyndsey Deaton
Lebanon Joana Dabaj
Mexico Cristina Garduno Freeman
Nepal Beau Beza, Neeraj Dangol, Ang Tshering Sherpa and Tsering Shrestha
NetherlandsGerben Helleman
New Zealand Penelope Carroll and Karen Witten
Nigeria Taibat Lawanson, Victor Onifade and Dami Oluwo
South Africa Katherine Hall
UK Barry Percy-Smith, Leanne Monchuk, Helen Lomax, Wendy Turner, Anna Tarrnat, Kate Smith
US Patsy Eubanks Owens, Janet Loebach, Byoung-Suk Kweon and Dongying Li

Project mentors

Louise Chawla

Karen Malone

Participate in this project

We welcome involvement in GUIC III through:

  • study as a future higher degree by research (HDR) student
  • research and collaboration with GUIC academics and scholars
  • work with GUIC as a government or commercial stakeholder.

Please contact us for further information on participating in this project.

Contact us

To learn more about the project or express interest in taking part, please contact the project lead coordinators.