[May 2019: postscript added – see the end of this post.]
Rotterdam is one the few big cities that has taken seriously the goal of becoming more child-friendly. Its ambitious planning policies have been debated in the National Assembly for Wales. Its public space improvement projects have been lauded at international conferences (indeed in 2008 it hosted Child in the City, a leading global cross-disciplinary event).
What is more, unlike some other Child-Friendly City initiatives, it focuses on hard outcomes that make a real difference in children’s lives – better parks, improved walking and cycling networks, wider pavements – and not just on participation processes that, however well-intentioned, may end up being idle wheels.
I really appreciate the thoughtful comments to my last post about playground design. It prompted me to summarise my own views in the form of seven design principles (plus an extra one for luck). What do you think of them? Feel free to continue the conversation!
At last September’s Open for Play seminar, London playground designer Jerry Cooper of Theories Landscapes wondered whether there was a danger of losing sight of the child who – he argues – should be at the centre of playground design thinking. “Are we,” he asked, “turning ‘play’, a free-flowing and natural activity, into an adult controlled, designed and spatially confined event in places and ways that are adult-devised, justified and rationalised?” It’s a good question (which Jerry reminded me about in an email exchange last week).
Image by Edwin Gardner, from Partizan Publik
In a couple of weeks I will be speaking at the Moscow Urban Forum, and I am asking for your help in making the most of this exciting opportunity. I want to find out more about everyday life for Moscow’s children. Can you help me discover what it is like to grow up in the neighbourhoods that the majority of Muscovite families live in?
Posted in Mobility, Outdoor play, Public space, Urban planning, Urbanism
Tagged child-friendly cities, mobility, Moscow, planning policy, play, public space, Russia, urban design, urbanism
Do you want to enjoy all the presentations from last month’s Open for Play seminar – on designing for play in playgrounds, streets and public spaces – from the comfort of your own office (or living room, studio, or bedroom)? Well, here is your chance. The full programme of formal presentations is now available to view online in glorious video and audio.
Posted in Outdoor play, Play spaces, playground, Public space, Urban planning, Urbanism
Tagged child-friendly cities, design, EC1, Islington, London, Olympic park, Olympics, open for play, play space, playground, urban design, video
Here’s a video of a young boy being taught to ride a bike. (It’s in Dutch – but you really don’t need to know the language.)
Posted in Learning, Mobility, Parenting, Public space, Risk
Tagged children's independent mobility, cycling, freedom, mobility, Netherlands, parent, Risk, streets, urban design, video
My plan to showcase some of London’s most playful places has been in the pipeline for a while. And now it’s around the corner. For all the latest info, follow this link to the mighty Playscapes blog – including handy onward links to the Open House website, with more details and maps for all the venues.
Posted in Outdoor play, Play spaces, playground, Public space, Urbanism
Tagged Adventure playground, Camden, child-friendly cities, design, early childhood, early years, EC1, Islington, London, neighbourhood, Open House, outdoor play, play space, playable space, playground, public space, Tower Hamlets, urban design