Disused Religious Space: Youth Participation in Built Heritage Regeneration

Karen Davison, Jenny Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


The rights of young people to participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives has been encouraged since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).Since then, policy-makers and planners have started to consider the views of youth, especially those aged 11–17. The size of the youth population and their feelings of social isolation are two important reasons to include them in the decision-making that affects their local built environment. Little is known about youth opinions of the built environment and in particular disused religious buildings which can become a significant part of local cultural heritage. This paper explores youth perceptions, place attachment and influence on identity of a prominent disused local Methodist church in the City of Belfast. The paper details the expressive methodological approach designed to encourage youth participation in the regeneration scheme. The findings of the study showcase the valuable connections that can be made between youth and heritage religious buildings through education programmes. The project conclusions also highlight the benefits to be gained from engaging youth in local built heritage and will be of interest to those involved in the design, planning and redevelopment processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 6 Jun 2017


  • youth participation
  • disused religious buildings
  • built heritage regeneration


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