I grew up in rural North Dakota. Children had so much free space they didn’t know what to do with it. One of my top suggestions was always kickball. We had a field right next to our house that we would gather to play. The kids would walk from all over town to meet us. Then, just as it was getting dark, everyone would walk themselves home. The freedom we had was unthinkable to a “city kid.” I remember being in kindergarten and riding my bike to the pool. We had the so many choices of where to go, but we rarely ever went to a park.
From a child’s point of view, we were meant to play in the park so, naturally, we wanted to go somewhere adventurous and different. I am not sure of the reasoning behind this- besides kids like to defy all rules. After reading the articles, I do have a better idea of how to make a park or public space usable for kids.
Create the space the children want. I understand this is a harder concept for cities to produce, especially after reading how children want natural elements to be present. This stuck out to me for two reasons. One – I simply had never thought the majority of students would prefer green spaces. I simply thought they would go where there was the most color or the biggest slide. Two – in rural North Dakota there is no way to not be observing the natural elements.
Another point that stuck out to me was the note on mixed users and sociability. Interacting with other ages has always seemed difficult to myself and my colleagues. My father used to ask us “well, why don’t you just say hi to them.” My friends and I would laugh. According to me, asking children to participate would be beneficial even if it only resulted in this one request of the kids. This has seemed to be lost in my generation, and I would be thrilled to see it return.
I think it would be very interesting to ask kids’ opinions on Wednesday, about what they would imagine the terrace as. All in all, I believe our world is getting faster and if we don’t stop to ask for a child’s point of view we might stay full speed and miss out.