This is my entry for a competition called High Line Green Infrastructure Ideas, held by the Landscape Institute in the UK, the Garden Museum and the Mayor of London.
The project description is as follows.
“………..children are disappearing from the outdoors at a rate that would make the top of any conservationist’s list of endangered species if they were any other member of the animal kingdom…….” Tim Gill (2005)
By focusing on the most vulnerable citizens on our streets today, this proposal explores tackling the public realm on a local scale, using connectivity and the renaturing of the urban environment to be more conducive with the way children navigate the neighbourhood.
Child-centred neighbourhoods, as child-centred education suggests, put the needs of the children first, requiring them to be active, responsible participants in their own development. By encouraging children to choose and make local connections within the neighbourhood it also allows them more freedom to experience, explore and be creative.
The proposal suggests making the school, the park and the home the nuclei of the local community and identifying opportunities to link these to other community spaces. Using nature as the agency of change, one can retrofit the utilitarian aspects of the public realm to promote connectivity.
This would require a city wide investment in human/nature social capital through the re-naturing of the urban environment, such as through the use of childlife corridors and the re-naturing of derelict and underused spaces. As this will improve the freedom, connectivity and activity of the children, it follows that the health and well being of the community will also improve.