This week we read about the importance of children in urban space planning. Children benefit greatly from community engagement and having their voices heard. Children are also the most impacted when city communities are lacking. In this age, kids are not engaging as much with the outside environment due to sheltering and modern technology and ‘connectivity’. The perceived dangers lead to a self-fulfilled prophecy where the streets are more dangerous because nobody is inhabiting.
When children are put in over-structured spaces, which is the general trend, they lack space to create their own worlds or create imaginative spaces. What we should strive to do is create a space for children to meet and socialize without telling them how to use the space.
The common playground is a very mundane structure. Of course kids love and utilize them, but it’s not the actual structure that makes it fun. It is the way they use their imagination to transport the playground.
In general a highly requested space by kids is green spaces. They seek interaction with nature and the real world. Between home and school and structured play time, many kids do not interact with natural and real-world spaces which is very artificial.
What we can do with this information is engage with children in our community to see what would make their spaces better. Parco Sant’Angelo is an interesting place because it is generally free of car traffic and has a beautiful view and plenty of green space. To improve we need more eyes in the park, along with enough structure to draw people to the park. I think that an open air gallery that includes play-able sculptures would cater to both adults and children. Kids love to engage their senses with tangible objects and they also love art. There’s already a run down playground in the park but I don’t think that a revamp of the structure would necessarily make a positive impact. It is nothing without the safety in numbers and eyes on the park. I think the park could be really successful if it became a sort of art walk. Using technology to our advantage, people love to take pictures for social media. Give them something to take a picture of that isn’t just the view!