Thesis Amanda Cecilia Peña

Thesis: Amanda Cecilia Peña

Healing by Design: A Trauma-Responsive Approach to Planning for Youth Development

Young adolescents (between the ages of 10 and 25) require unstructured, low-stress environments to fully support the development of their interests, identities, relationships, and other life skills. However, marginalized youth often lack sufficient access to quality, safe, and diverse spaces that support their holistic development due to environmental traumas such as poverty, disinvestment, pollution, violent crime, and substance use. Public schools are inherently aware of the impact of trauma on youth outcomes but do not have the resources, capacity, or power to implement interventions that support students outside of the classroom. Using mixed quantitative and qualitative methods, this research examines the potential for city-school partnerships to build social and physical infrastructure that better supports teen-aged youth development. The implications for youth participatory action research in the development of a trauma-responsive planning approach are also discussed.