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Youth Centers: The Guiding start for development of young minds

HomeArchitectureYouth Centers: The Guiding start for development of young minds
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Sudarshan Uppunda
Apart from being an Architect, Sudarshan has a flair for writing, manages a family business, and is trying his hand at UX Design as well. He likes to write and explore varied topics on Culture, Architecture, and Workplace environments. He is quite active in architectural journalism and has written for various platforms like RTF and The Arch Insider. He strongly believes that whatever one does in life, one must do it with passion & be happy with it.

“My message, especially to young people is to have the courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed” – APJ Abdul Kalam

It is imperative, we reap what we sow. The nourishment of a plant at the primary stage is extremely important for its further growth. The same is the case with the development of young minds irrespective of culture, race, and location. The support and nourishment that the youth receive at their growing stages decide the path to their future. Moreover, stable and healthy youth culture is very vital for any system to grow and prosper.

Role of design in youth development

The internet has proved to be a digital space for a give and take of knowledge and has influenced the youth culture immensely. But it is debatable that no everyone has access to it or rather not everyone has the exposure to pick the right content for self-development. Hence, this is where physical spaces and design can come to the rescue. While there are a lot of verticals that can contribute to and are responsible for fostering youth well-being, Design can be a very constructive tool that can give a platform for the youth today. Youth centers can be designed at various levels to give access to youth to knowledge, technology, and personality development.

Let us explore how design and spaces can lead to nurturing the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities of the young generations.

Physical Development

Youth centers ought to have an engaging environment

Though youth centers are like the ‘Third Space’, rendering them a residence-like environment can go a long way in the inclusion of diverse young minds and make them comfortable with the setup. Here are few factors to be considered while planning the spaces in any youth center:

  • Design spaces to have ample od natural light.
  • The finishes, material, and colors just resonate with the young minds and ought to create an engagement at the first point of contact itself.
  • A good lighting design to ensure well-lit ambiance and task lighting to ensure proper set up for performing tasks
  • The use of unnatural finishes, textures, and colors would make space look like an ‘institution’ Therefore, it is important to make the physical space not look like conventional schools or colleges so as to bring it the candid version from the youth and help to think out of the box.

Social & Emotional Upliftment

Youth centers with an all-inclusive and diverse background can encourage the young generation to do away with the social inhibitions and develop as a person irrespective of the social status. Thus, youth centers can become a catalyst of development for all and uplift the socially neglected section of society. Design-wise, elements can be incorporated from varied traditions to render an all-inclusive environment. Moreover, curating collaborative and agile spaces will encourage social involvement and engagement among the youth.

Agile spaces aid in collaboration

For instance,

An organization called the Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD) works towards the social upliftment of the tribal and rural poor in Odisha, which is among the underdeveloped and underprivileged areas in India. The foremost focus of this youth center is eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, thereby ensuring social inclusion and development of the needy.  There are provisions for spaces used for training and other capacity-building support to pro-poor organizations and individuals, and carrying out researching the realm of the underprivileged people especially the tribals.

Building Cognitive abilities

Youth centers provide opportunities to develop cognitive skills

Cognitive development refers to the capacity of an individual to think reason and analyze. Each child has a different pace to developed these skills but the environment around can prove to be a driving force towards nurturing one’s cognitive abilities. Individuals in adolescence can do more complex thinking. The design of the youth center can thus encourage and help the youth to

  • Carry on the abstract thought process. This means understanding the possibilities.

  • Logical reasoning. Forming own new ideas and questions.

  • Consideration. Ability to think, compare or debate ideas and opinions.

  • Awareness. Being aware of one’s thoughts and actions.

All in All

Youth centers can be a boon as channelizing the young energy in the right direction can work wonders for any system. Youth centers are thus potential areas to explore ways to ensure well-being through architecture.

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