The Inner Harbor Project is a model for social change that identifies teenagers who are leaders among their peers, equips them with research and professional skills, and organizes them to come up with solutions to issues that divide our society on the basis of race, class and culture.
The Inner Harbor Project focuses on public space because it is the place where different social needs compete and where we can pioneer effective approaches to harmonious coexistence.
- Recognize that young people are critical agents of social change. Young people are necessary for solving this issue. They are “insiders” – able to understand personally the ramifications of exclusion.
- Train young people in Participatory Action Research to identify the origin of tension and generate recommendations for improvement. Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) gives young people the tools they need to do empirical research. Because we live in the Information Age, where data is language, it allows their findings to be understood across a broad cross-section of society. Additionally, studies show that the solutions generated from YPAR are more sustainable than those deduced through conventional methods because the critical agents of change – youth– are at the helm.
- Implement the recommendations in a central public space to change the dynamics between disengaged youth and adults. Working in central public spaces elevates the solutions beyond a single community. Because people of all backgrounds intersect in public spaces, the ramifications of the solutions can be far reaching.
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