Presented by Dr Rhian Powell and Dr Esther Muddiman. 

Increasing attention is being given to children and young people’s views in decisions about public space. In this seminar, we explore how adult residents and campaigners employ constructions of children and childhood when putting forward arguments in relation to a contested city space. To do this, we will draw on localised examples of how these tensions in rights play out ‘on the ground’ in contested spaces within the city of Cardiff. Particular focus is given to the site of the ‘Northern Meadows’, a green space currently being developed as a site for the new Velindre hospital. This has been a high-profile and highly contested development, in which narratives about children’s rights, future generations and intergenerational justice have been mobilised in competing and contradictory ways by different stakeholders. Through the accounts of those involved, we explore questions such as: How do adults invoke children and childhood in competing claims about the use of public space? Which children are invoked in these debates? And how do these invocations contribute to our understanding of age-based rights and intergenerational justice?

The findings of this seminar are drawn from qualitative interviews with key people involved in the debate surrounding the Northern Meadows development- including organisations, campaigners and local residents. Our findings highlight the different ways in which children are invoked and identified by participants as powerful ways to mobilise support. In doing so, we problematise the notion of age-based rights by showing that notions of children and childhood can be invoked in contradictory and competing ways.

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