Youth Engagement


The Chicago Architecture Biennial provides free, educational and creative programming to learners of all ages as a way to promote active exploration of the built environment and empower audiences to see architecture and design as tools for change.

CAB's youth programming aims to: Facilitate meaningful and ongoing engagements with students, schools, community organizations, universities, museums, and other cultural institutions; Encourage connections between learners’ lived experiences and CAB content; Reach students from populations historically underrepresented in architecture, and; Provide opportunities for co-learning across generations and disciplines. 

2021 Programs

Youth programs organized around the 2021 edition, The Available City, will highlight themes of equity, sustainability, and community-based design. Programs will: provide opportunities for active engagement with key issues through the lens of architecture, design, and urbanism, and; encourage participants to reimagine their communities and city, with a specific focus on unused spaces including vacant city-owned lots.

Youth Studios

Youth Studios are offered together with youth-serving community organizations across Chicago. Youth Studios bring high school students together with design professionals to actively explore architecture and design in relation to questions or topics facing them and their communities with the goals of exposing young people to architecture and design; promoting civic engagement; and supporting college and career readiness.

Family Programs

CAB and partner Family Programs engage families with children ages 5-10 in hands-on activities that introduce architecture and design themes through age appropriate content.

Visit our programs page for details about upcoming youth and family programming.

Educator Resources

Curriculum resources including classroom activities and lesson plans aligned with curriculum standards will be available on the CAB website this fall. Resources and curriculum toolkits are designed to help educators introduce themes that encourage youth to understand how architecture and design connect with their lived experiences. Teacher trainings hosted by CAB will provide teachers with the opportunity to connect their curricula to global and local concepts of architecture and design.

Virtual Field Trips

Between September and December, CAB will offer free, virtual “field trips” that will engage elementary and high school students in active exploration and conversation around topics explored through The Available City as well as architecture and design more generally. Virtual classroom visits may be scheduled beginning this summer through our website.


The Student Ideas Competition at the Chicago Architecture Biennial encourages middle and high school students to share their ideas for how design can play a role in creating shared spaces and shaping communities. The 6th Student Ideas Competition will launch in Fall 2021. 

Visit our competition page to learn more and to see past winning projects.

Youth Council

CAB’s Youth Council will engage youth voices in shaping both our organization and the larger cultural and architecture and design landscapes of the city while providing personal and professional mentorship to teens.

If there is a student in grades 9-12 that you would like to recommend for the CBA Youth Council, email


Are you an organization, school, or a caregiver or teacher looking for ways to engage young people in conversations about how they can play a role in shaping our cities and world through architecture and design?

Join our Learning & Engagement mailing list here.

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