Embassy of Youth – Graduation Project Lisa van de Merwe

‘Embassy of Youth’ was a collaboration with Delft Institute of Positive Design (DIOPD) and Oxfam UK. The project took a positive design approach to see how it could contribute to the community well-being of a disadvantaged neighbourhood, specifically the teenage boys in that neighbourhood. Theory on community well-being was used to evaluate how this was present in Feijenoord, a neighbourhood in Rotterdam South that challenges with poverty, crime but also the stigmatisation of a ‘bad neighbourhood’. When exploring Feijenoord and its people, inspiration came from how the teenagers were often mentioned as the cause of nuisance, litter and crime on the streets, making other residents feel less safe in their own neighbourhood. Instead of designing something against these teenagers, the aim was to design for them: why are their activities on the street meaningful to them, what do they value and how do they feel about how they are perceived by others? How could design contribute to their well-being and, through that, the community well-being of the neighbourhood? This was done by creating a toolkit and workshops for youth workers to guide teenagers in discovering their talents.