Lets focus on making our cities liveable
We need to think about how liveable our cities are. More people than ever before are living in cities and this number is set to increase to 70 per cent of the world’s population by 2050.
With such an increase in population size we should be looking towards the urban environment as a space, which at its heart, is created for everybody and not just for a fraction of people who live within it.
If we look at Ireland, 22 per cent of our population are under the age of 18, yet little thinking goes i nto making the urban sphere more conducive to children and teenagers’ needs.
For such a population our cities should be crucibles of exploration, safe spaces that allow children and young people to understand the world around them.
More often than not, children are dispersed to traditional designated “play” environments, behind fences, in the corners of parks.
The i ncrease i n playgrounds is commendable, but in effect these are destination spaces which design children ( and their families) out of the f abric of t heir ci t y – whilst teenagers are rarely considered at all. Young people, by default, are not being made welcome in our cities.
Children and young people are an “indicator species” for cities, which means the more we see this portion of society healthier and happier within our environment the more we know a city is doing well. This gives us the opportunity to look at space within a city in a different light.
Many spaces around our cities lie unused and unloved – laneways, vacant lots, street corners.
Working with and for communities, these spaces can be reimagined as playful intergenerational spaces that cater for all.