This paper presents the methods and preliminary results gained in geographic information systems (GIS)-based participatory activities designed to engage youth in urban planning. We describe our engagement framework that integrates such pervasive IT tools as GIS, online serious games, agent-based modeling, and mobile participatory GIS into engagement strategies that tap into what we see as the storytelling capabilities of these tools. We show how these methods help citizens, in our case youth, assume leadership roles and take positive, tangible actions in their communities. This paper summarizes the elements of our framework and the initial results of a program called “Community Growers” that we created between our Iowa State University research team and a chapter of the Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa. Participants included middle school-age youth from three resource-vulnerable neighborhoods in Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, USA. We conclude the paper with a discussion and further research directions.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alenka-poplin/5/