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Children in Urban Spaces, University College Ghent

The planning and design of child friendly urban spaces is a growing interdisciplinary challenge for architects, spatial designers, social workers and educators within the city. Involving children in this process is more than ever a prerequisite for sustainable and liveable urban spaces. They should not only be regarded as informants or participants in this process but also as co-researchers of the urban environment and active agents in planning and design processes.

The KIDS-project (Kinderen in stedelijke ruimtes - Children in Urban Spaces) integrates social, pedagogical and geographical perspectives in a new theoretical and operational framework aimed
at studying and strengthening the urban citizenship of children through processes of urban planning and design.

The research takes the different ways in which children are able, allowed and willing to be present in the city as a starting point, and connects this to the interactions between spatial design, socialised meanings and boundaries, and the individual preferences and appropriation processes of children. 
Both citizenship and childfriendliness are, in this view, not seen as a to-be-achieved-status, but as relational and educational processes, in which children are asked to think about what a city needs (instead of being asked what children want for themselves). Through 4 pilot cases in different urban planning or design contexts, we’ve explored how urban citizenship and childfriendliness can be strengthened.  We’ve created and tested a various set of tools to explore, visualise and discuss children’s perspectives on the (urban) environment. Through various urban planning interventions, a dialogue about the possibilities of a certain space can be established between diverse residents, designers, social workers, policy makers,… Urban planning can thus be used as a lever for community development in which children are involved as co-citizens.The research project resulted in a user friendly KIDS-guide with both theoretical and practical insights for urban planners, designers, social workers, policy makers,… to establish collective learning processes and strengthen children’s citizenship.


KIDS – Kinderen in stedelijke ruimtes – Children In Urban Spaces
Department of Social Work – Team Urban Education
Sven De Visscher, Greet De Brauwere, Griet Verschelden, Hari Sacré & Jolijn De Haene

Vakgroep Architectonisch Ontwerp – Team Landschapsarchitectuur
Department of Architectonic Design – Team Landscape Archictecture
Pieter Foré, Ruben Joye & Liza Lauwers

Partners:
TU Berlin – Institut für Stadt- und Regionalplanung
Universidade do Minho – Centro de Investigação em Estudos da Criança (CIEC)

Contact:
Faculty of Education, Health & Social Work
Campus Schoonmeersen
Valentin Vaerwyckweg 1, B-9000 Gent

+32 (0)9/243.26.54

sven.devisscher@hogent.be


 



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