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City of Port Philip

Catering for Our Youth

“The results of the engagement program provided Council with a framework for exploring where to locate the Youth Centre"

~ Outcome

The Project

Conversation Caravan partnered with Mosaic Lab to carry out engagement with young people to consider the design and location of a youth centre.

The purpose of the engagement was to primarily understand where young people would like a youth centre built and why. Second to this was their view and understanding of what a youth centre is, and the types of activities they would use in a centre. Providing the project team with an understanding of both the interests and needs of the local young people.

 The activities complemented the City of Port Philip Survey and aimed at better understanding the:

  • desired location for a youth centre
  • types of activities to be included as part of a youth centre
  • principles for the centre (design and build), and
  • current needs within the community that could be met through the youth centre.

The report detailed the type of events and activities young people would enjoy at a youth centre; they articulated their desired locations: close to transport, other entertainment and in a nice location. In addition, they also described their ideal environment: light, bright, homelike and open.


  • Prying eyes of parents – at some of the pop-ups it was difficult to distract parents so that the youth could participate honestly and full in the activities without influence from their folks.
  • Young people are mercurial creatures. They need to be encouraged to participate in projects, and this usually involves food and prizes. More incentives would have been useful.
  • Doing a pop-up in a nightclub took some of our conversation facilitators back to a stressful time in their lives. It was a little noisy for us old folk.

Keys to success

  • Going to where the young people congregate. Pop-ups were held at football grounds, skate parks, a nightclub and other key attractions.
  • Incentives to participate – movie tickets, coffee vouchers, lollies.
  • Bright and colourful pop up (made us more appealing to young people)


The results of the engagement program provided Council with a framework for exploring where to locate the Youth Centre. Young people unknowingly created  several criteria for Council. Namely, close to:

  • existing facilities and services, including schools, libraries and sporting grounds. Both parents and young people raised this as an important factor for the convenience of being able to access the centre on the way to or from an activity or pick-up
  • public transport: locations along tram or train lines were preferred by parents and youth. This would ensure accessing the centre was not reliant on getting a lift  
  • home: young people, in particular, wanted the youth centre to be close to home
  • other activities: adults raised this as important criterion, for both safety and activities for the parents (while waiting). If the youth centre was located in a busy area, they would feel both more comfortable with their children using the site and could find something to do while waiting for their children to attend the centre, and
  • shops and entertainment: young people older than 16 raised this more frequently when discussing their preferred location.