Public spaces are actively discouraging to children and built around the convenience of the car and shopping trips, a report commissioned by Play England complains.
Demos recommended that youngsters should be involved in planning "youth-proof" proposals. Co-author Joost Beunderman said: "It is important to see spatial planning as young people experience it and think about the perspective of children."
Beunderman argued that this would ensure that there is a balance between different needs. Youth planners could be drawn from the DCLG's young advisers scheme, he added.
The report also recommends creating play spaces at iconic locations and reducing speed limits in residential areas to 20mph.
Seen and Heard: Reclaiming the Public Realm with Children and Young People is available at PlanningResource.co.uk/docs.