A State of Encouragement

A State of Encouragement

This project focuses on what Adelaide has to offer young people and how a city can be a place that not only welcomes young people but celebrates their participation in the community. South Australia is a city state and the city should be a neutral place. Colonel Light gave us a very well planned out city but there were no young people in his plans.

We want to find out how to make Adelaide a city that entices young people in and keeps them around. We want to create a city that has public places for all South Australian children and young people. The city should be redesigned with young people in mind as the active consumers.

State of Encouragement


The Commissioner embarked upon a Listening tour in 2017 and heard from more than 1400 children and young people about what’s important to them, what they would change in South Australia and what they think she should prioritise in her role.

Throughout the Listening Tour, children and young people of all ages, background and all over South Australia spoke about the lack of and poor access to opportunities – whether that’s jobs, recreational activities or places – they spoke about the lack of opportunities to participate in community life and other factors that impact on their participation in and connection to South Australia.  One of the top five things that children and young people have asked the Commissioner to prioritise in her work is to create more opportunities to play, learn and earn. 

During further conversations with young people, they have told us they do not feel valued or welcomed in Adelaide. They have said there’s nothing to do and nowhere to hang out. As a comparative, those young people spoke about the opportunity and vibe of Melbourne. They said it was a place that’s cool and welcoming for young people. They talked about Silicone Valley as a place where risk is embraced and innovation is welcomed.

Councils consider children and adults in their planning of cities and towns. They make sure there are play parks and transport and green spaces for dog walking. If young people aren’t involved in their city then they will look elsewhere for jobs and study. They will go to places where they feel welcome or included.


We will develop a ‘redesign’ of public spaces in Adelaide for young people that are developed, designed and implemented by young people.

Find out more about State of Encouragement