Street Engagements – Teenagers « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Street Engagements – Teenagers


The idea was to engage in street converstations with teenagers to find out why and how they use the City Centre, and also what they know about the City that we do not know.


We moved around the (central city) to the following locations…

  • Henry Street – outside the Ilac Centre
  • Henry Street – outside Arnotts
  • O’Connell Street – at the junction of Henry/Talbot St (at the Spire)
  • O’Connell Street – at the junction of Abbey St (at statue in central median)
  • The Central Bank
  • The Georges Street Arcade
  • The Powerscourt Centre
  • Grafton Street
  • Stephens Green Shopping Centre
  • Stephens Green Park
  • Nassau Street
  • Pearse Street Flats
  • Grand Canal Docks

We asked the following questions…

  • Where do you like to hang out in Dublin?
  • Where do you like to chill out in Dublin?
  • Where in the City has the X-Factor for you?
  • If you were going on a date in the City, where would you go?
  • If you wanted to show a friend something or somewhere really special in the City, where would you bring them?
  • What annoys you about Dublin?
  • Whats not cool aout Dublin?
  • What do you hate about Dublin?
  • Do you think Dublin cares for Teenagers?
  • What do you think is missing from Dublin?
  • How do you get into the City to-day/ How did you find that? Can you suggest any small changes that could be made to make your journey easier?
  • If you were Major of Dublin for the Day what would you change to make the City nicer for teenagers and why?


The teenagers that we spoke to were from a range of ages and area for e.g

  • Clontarf
  • Palmerstown
  • Finglas
  • Howth
  • Crumlin
  • South Circular Road
  • Carpenterstown
  • Meath
  • Kilkenny
  • Baldoyle
  • Leixlip
  • Tallaght
  • Bluebell
  • Harolds Cross
  • Swords
  • Portobello
  • Waterford
  • Ballyroan
  • Terenure
  • Dundrum

The age range we spoke to went from 13-19yrs.

Teenagers in Dublin


The ‘hidden gems’ that we found ranged from a place nicknamed “the heaters” (which is a spot where they can hang out which has extract fans from a restaurant nearby and has a slight overhang for when it rains…to the rock garden in St Stephens Green (the park)…to Elk Wood inKnocklyon Forest (where Teens like to hang out).

In general however, we felt it was rather difficult to find ‘hidden gems’ as teenagers fall between the two stools of childhood (where you explore your very local/immediate environment and generally don’t feel the need to spend money) and adulthood (where you explore far and wide and have money to spend). They therefore tended to wanted to leave their immediate environment (“let’s head into town”) but perhaps didn’t have much money to have the confidence to explore, or the means to explore (public transport is very poor in Dublin and cars are an expensive luxury).

Whatever the reason, it was generally difficult to find hidden gems, but was easy to find out their obstacles and interests.

One item that really stood out was they all (no matter where or what types of teenagers we spoke to) wanted a free/cheap place to simply hang out with friends. We found it very easy to get them to describe this place and what it might contain. It would be very easy to prototype and test out in the City.


One issue that we had was that there generally are difficulties photographing minors under 18 years. Therefore we ended up with photos like the below – with some facing us, others facing away. It was also obviously a rather strange question to ask – can you turn around so I can photograph you from behind!! :)

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