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Youth Design Durham - Intro

Prism Design Lab is engaging ten high school aged youth in the visioning and design of a Third Place for young people in Durham. A Third Place is a trusted spot outside of school and work where young people can connect and gather with others and ‘just be’. Durham’s youth have articulated the need for such a place and are the main stakeholders in the project. Therefore, they are the primary voice in the design process. The final product of this program will be the conceptual design of a physical site and structure that will be presented to Durham leadership.

The workshop series is funded by the Office on Youth (OOY), a division in the City Manager’s Office at the City of Durham. In 2019, the OOY launched the Durham Youth Listening Project as a part of Durham’s Strategic Youth Initiative, with the goal of hearing directly from Durham’s young people about their needs, dreams, and challenges.

Their findings reported the need for a place dedicated to youth, that is safe, free, and provides activities and opportunities for leadership.

Prism conceived a proposal based on these findings. With professional architects and designers as guides, the group of young creatives are learning the process and tools of design through the premise of a Third Place on a specific site in Durham. In addition, the workshops impact the youth by exposing them to architecture and design, teaching them new skills, and fostering relationships with design professionals. The workshops are being held once a month for the duration of the ‘23-’24 school year and are located at the

Durham Main Library. The workshop series are free of cost to the participants.

This project is being realized from the support of local government, businesses and community members. We are deeply grateful to our partners and sponsors: Durham’s Office On Youth, Durham County Library Maker + Steam Services, Triangle Community Foundation, Self-Help Ventures Fund, Gateway Building Company, and BuildSense.


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