Imagining child friendly cities
These last days I have been imagining a city where little girls and boys can grow up freely and happy. A city with less noise, less cars, less grey, with purer air, greener and many more places where to play on the streets. As the one's a long time ago.
I know that it seems like an utopia actually. But girls and boys, and also adults, we all need healthier cities, thought to be lived.
Our current reality is far away from an ideal city for childhood. In fact it’s a complete dystopia.
Because nowadays the protas are the cars, the motorcycles the buses which transport us from one place to another. From our homes to school, from school to the doctor’s appointment, from the doctor back to our home, from home to work...and like this with non stop.
It’s as if someone has given us a way to move. But the reality is that we want to live our cities . Play on the streets, find out new things at the parks and interact more with each other.
Does it exist any city where girls and boys are the real protagonists?
I listen to my parents talking about the new Zero Emissions Zone in Barcelona, the streets which are closed to traffic some days every month, so we can freely walk without the limits established by the sidewalks.
But I think that if someone would ask us how we would like the cities we live in, they would get surprised with the ideas that we all have to convert cities into kids friendly cities. Because now, they are built without thinking in our needs.
We’re not the cities’ future. We are the cities’ present. We don’t want cities which think in our elderly needs. We yearn cities adapted to the needs we have now, and we demand to be listened.
Our generation is growing with the belief that the streets aren’t for us. The cities are for the CARS. And that’s a wrong idea. Because is out there where lifes is, the oxygen, where everything should be greener... And it's in the streets where we want to play.
We reclaim our right to play on the streets and do it with freedom, in safe spaces where we can go on our own.
Yes, I know that won’t be easy. Because there are voices who say that cities aren’t safe. But the children need to develop our security and trust in the neighborhoods where we live. If not we will grow up and we’ll become scared and insecure adults in hostile cities. Isn't it sad?.
Francesco Tonucci, Italian psychopedagogue, thinker and cartoonist has created the project The city of children, because he believes that cities have lost their main objective: to be a meeting place and social exchange.
He inspires us and understands us as well. And we claim for the need that more adults listen to us so that we can think of cities together and turn them into more creative spaces.
Just because we are some years younger than you, you don’t consider us able to be competent. But you are wrong. We’re perfectly able to express our needs and tell you what it works out for us to be freer and grow in self confidence. However, a city built for us is a healthy place for all of us.
Of course that we need more public places to play in and more green zones. And less cars driving around. But there are many other things that convert cities into truly friendly places for girls and boys.
Regardless of our age, we represent a large part of the population excluded from important decisions. Even more, we live in a diverse and intercultural society that wants to defend its interests in front of financial and productive interests. Girls and boys can become the paradigm of diversity. It’s up to you if you allow us to achieve it.
If you give us the opportunity to present our ideas, you will not only be educating us in integrity and trust, but together we will design cities for girls and boys and friendly to all.