CONTEXT

Urban space

Child culture

Challenging our pre-understanding of public space and play

The City is our Playground 
 

THEME

Boundaries

Mobility

EXPRESSION

Artefacts & Tools

The city is our playground suggests a set of playable urban street facilities that could transform our mobility patterns and reshape our public space textures. With the micro-scale approach, the idea is attempting to vibrate our urban life by encouraging both children and adults to play, explore and express ourselves; and to recall our senses and freedom of movement.

Questioning on how the urban built environment is shaping our body movement in our daily life. While, also considering outdoors child culture is more than playground; the project believes public space is where different cultures play and create.

 

Corresponding to children as citizens and public users, the empirical knowledge of this public space project was built up with the perspective of children, specifically on looking for play opportunities and human beings spatial relationship with the living environment. The research part included 3 workshops with a focus group and semi-structured outdoor observations in two specific locations in the city of Gothenburg.

The invisible space inspired from child's perspective

The project involved UPPDRAG54, Tuesday group children (age 8 - 12 years old) from Folkets Hus Hammarkullen. To understand how children perceive our living environment, the workshops included ‘walk and play’, landscape model making, and prototyping trying, where we analysed the three main factors to a more child-friendly urban public space:

  • Fun factors

  • Touchable artefacts

  • Invisible space in relation to human scale

In a ‘walk and play’ workshop, we found play opportunities other than playgrounds by making use of artefacts in the neighbourhood, such as railings, curbs, ramps, and booms.

 

Other than fun factors, the human scale in the environment also contribute how children perceive play opportunities, which adults usually don’t see. That’s why a boom gate block adult, while for children, it’s a place to pass through. Another workshop ‘what’s our feeling of the city?’was a discussion around why the city is uninspiring though making a city landscape model. ‘Trees in the city are not for climbing’, ‘Stones are boring.’ but ‘if lamps has stair to climb on, it would be fun.’ were among the comments from the children. 

Integrating reachable factor in relation to children size to forester play signal, the design deliberated on street facilities which is more inviting for body interaction, as well as keeping the original functions.