This thesis investigates whether, in which capacity and to which extent public space plays a role in improving the lives of young people in informal settlements. Youth in a village in the Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, is used as a case. The thesis is a qualitative case study, where in-depth interviews with youth has been main source of primary data. The research follows two tracks to examine the role of public space in improving young people’s lives. The first is the investigation of how public space can enhance the quality of life for youth. It is found that public space to some extent plays a role as an enabler of education and employment opportunities, while also increasing the security in the village. The other track in the thesis examines the political dimension related to public space. I find that through the claim for public space and subsequent use of the claimed public spaces, the status and influence of youth is increased both within the community and vis-à-vis the formal political system. I also find that access to the public spaces in the village is contested, and that segments of the youth population do not have equal access to them. The study concludes that public space can improve the lives of young people in informal settlements, though this is granted access.