Twenty_five years ago, sponsored by UNESCO and under the leadership of Kevin Lynch, a series of field studies was conducted in cities in Argentina, Australia, Mexico, and Poland to investigate the urban environment of 10 to 14 year olds from low income neighbourhoods. In 1996, a replication of Growing Up in Cities (GUEC) was launched, expanded to eight countries, again sponsored by UNESCO, as well the Norwegian Centre for Child Research and Childwatch International. Growing Up in Cities builds on Lynch's principle that children most effectively learn self_confidence and achieve identity by engagement with the public places of their neighborhood and city. These are the same places where they will need to manage their own affairs and demonstrate social and environmental responsibility when they are adults. GUIC has attempted to understand how different urban environments encourage or inhibit these dimensions of development. The 1990s focus on the Convention on the Rights of the Child has given the study a strong participatory thrust leading to greater concern for policy development and presentation of the issues for public debate by young citizens themselves. Not only have their perspectives been expressed in standardised research results, they have also worked with the researchers and community_based organisations to articulate recommendations with their own voice to the municipal authorities_a critical first step in building effective governance structures. An important outcome of the research is that young citizens begin to build their own capacity for dealing with the issues embedded in the key research questions: (*) How do young people use and perceive their neighborhood environment, how does it shape their lives? What environmental and social supports do low income, working_class urban communities offer? (*) How do urban conditions facilitate or restrict healthy development? How can children themselves be involved in enhancing the advantages and reducing the problems of their urban environment? (*) What conditions prepare children to invest hope and energy in their communities and cities? (*) How do urban conditions around the world reflect rapidly changing global economic and social forces? How can the negative consequences of these changes be addressed through community action? // Much of Lynch's original methodology has been reapplied. Measures include inventories of environmental resources and risks, observations of children's behavior in streets, public places, and vacant land. Parents' and children's reports indicate the range of movement and activities within the local community and the surrounding city. Time budgets document typical weekday and weekend activities. Children made lists of community places and people they know, identified places of attraction and avoidance, described their degree of boredom or engagement, drew images and took photographs of their cities. Differences between girls' and boys' experiences have been evaluated. Children. parents, and city officials have assessed past and future urban changes and their effects on young peoples lives. The IAPS conference provides a unique opportunity to bring together members of the GUIC team to present study conclusions and comparisons between countries and to engage in a critical discourse on the action_research methodology employed.