What About the Kids?

Clean up and pot-luck of Parco Sant’Angelo

Last Thursday night, our placemaking class held a workshop regarding the revamping of Parco Sant’Angelo, where community members could drop in and share their opinions of the park and what needs to be improved. One of the activities we participated in was sharing your opinion of which of the 6 projects that were mapped out were most important to you. After this exercise, it was evident that one of the most important projects was the restoration of the children’s play area.

This thought got me thinking about this weeks readings, regarding children’s participation in cities. In the first reading, Children and City Design: Proactive Process and the “Renewal” of Childhood, Francis and Lorenzo explore the culture of childhood in this day and age and how it impacts children’s participation in cities.

It was stated that there has been a change in childhood, where it has become less child-centered and more controlled by adults. This then has lead to a lack of children’s exploration of streets, parks, or natural areas. In turn, the ability to incoroporate children’s participation in city planning has become compromised.

The play area of Parco Sant’Angelo seems to be neglected, and one of the projects that people found to be important was the restoration of this play area. This neglect may be in result of this change in childhood, where children are going outside and exploring less and less as the years go on.

If this area was to be improved, it could also in turn improve children’s participation in the neighborhood. This area could be a great attraction for families, and would have the ability to encourage children to explore the city and nature that surrounds them.

Another project that seemed to be important to people was the creation of a garden in the park. This project could improve children’s participation in the park as well, as it could bring families in and get children excited about nature and how to care for it. Giving children a sense of responsibility in caring for a garden helps them develop, as well as keeps them as an active member of the park.

Looking back at all of the choices of projects to improve the park, I personally believe that the ones that improve children’s participation would be the most beneficial to the development of this park. Children will bring life back to this area, and it would be incredible to bring families to this park and get children excited again about being outdoors, rather than being indoors using technology.

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