We let kids design our city — here's what happened 

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

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.

What sparks your curiosity?

Everything. I am an inherently curious person, which is why I enjoy working with children so much; they are born curious! I am continuously in awe of the world around me. I’m as interested in inspecting the tiny buds on a flower as I am in understanding how an airplane can transport me across the world in a day.

What inspires awe and fascination for you?

I am in awe of how my daughter is my zen teacher. When she was little, she forced me to slow down because she WOULD NOT WALK ANY FASTER! Now that she is 10, I am fascinated by how she continues to teach me life lessons every day, if I am willing to see them.

Hobbies / Passions / Fun Facts

I love learning about other cultures and immersing myself in them. One of my favorite ways to do this is to speak other languages and to live abroad. I’ve lived in France, Argentina, and Australia. I speak French and Spanish, and I am fearless about practicing them; sometimes, I even encourage others to correct my mistakes! I credit my late mother for this passion, since she shared her favorite hobbies with me of watching PBS, renting foreign films, reading National Geographic Magazines.