Articles

Manifesto for the children's town

Today, 1′4 of the city dwellers are under the age of 18. This can be accommodated

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There are two areas where you can rightly be proud to be from Denmark. Of course, it's the architecture and then there's pedagogy. Two areas where Danish equals quality and solidity combined with aesthetics and reason. Two areas that are completely independent of each other have won quite a few supporters and awards each.

Therefore, it is surprising that Danish cities are so tacky, from the point of view of children.

If you have the misfortune to have been born in an ordinary Danish city, you should not expect the great in either architecture or pedagogical initiatives in the urban space. No, you must be able to get by with a few standard playground elements in the park's darkest corner, or look here, here it will be fun: a pair of fixed stone-chair sculptures on some manor house gravel in the same dark gray hue that is supposed to be imagined "urban space interior".

The city space is cleansed of everything that is childish, playful and dynamic, but why is it really?

We have developed cities for through traffic, for private car use and for public transport infrastructure. We have built taller and bigger and wider due to relocation. Most recently, the focus in urban planning has been on climate protection and terrorist protection as a result of a new agenda.

But that's not what makes a city unforgettable and wonderful. Transport, housing and climate and terrorism protection are a backdrop, but what's happening at the forefront of the scene must be created now that the world is changing, in the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus.

If we are to improve cities so that they become interesting and vibrant - just as they did then during the Bauhaus School, we must start from the people who live in them. And in the demographic composition: today, 1′4 of the city dwellers are under the age of 18. You can accommodate that.

Children's town room

So how do you create them, children's urban spaces? Because it is not playgrounds but urban spaces that can accommodate children. It requires secure connections to the attractive places. It requires space for fast pace, but also for resting places. It requires area and something attractive to the eyes. It requires seats with time, profit and a positive atmosphere.

A passage filled with ropes, a park path illuminated with lamp swings, a balance boom along the sidewalk. Is huge sculpture of 15 meters, one can climb up and inside. A couple of caves with bridges between the treetops by the parking lot.

It doesn't have to be expensive or cumbersome to think urban spaces child-friendly, nor does it have to go in a different direction than the urban space's real purpose. And then one should not forget that even for adults it can be quite fun to be in a humane, friendly and playful urban space.

Should we let 2019 be the year when the city becomes filled with children and play!

Marie Astrup