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Community: Child Centered Urban Design

Community: Child Centered Urban Design

Brookings Edu published a report about the importance of child friendly urban design. According to this study, by 2030, 60% of the world’s population will be under 18 years old. But sometimes urban planners, developers and architects don’t take into account families and children when it comes to create city-wide policies that impact health, wellbeing, transportation, air and noise pollution.

“A critical component of child-friendly urban planning is prioritizing opportunities for learning and healthy development both in and out of school. This is especially important for children living in communities challenged by decades of discrimination and disinvestment. Deep inequalities plague the education systems in many countries, and the COVID-19 pandemic has widened existing educational equity in worrisome ways”.

To address kids and family’s needs many cities around the globe are beginning to invest in Playful Learning Landscapes (PLL). These are installations and programming that look to promote learning through play in the public realm. With the pandemic, public leaders have understood the importance of neighbourhood investments to enhance health, economic opportunity and well-being and started to implement this.

Let’s review more details about Playful Learning Landscapes:

“Playful Learning Landscapes (PLL) is an emerging, interdisciplinary area of study and practice that reimagines the potential of cities as supportive ecosystems for children and families by marrying urban design and placemaking with the science of learning. The Brookings Institution, in collaboration with Temple University and the Playful Learning Landscapes Action Network (PLAN), is building an interdisciplinary community of practice and responding to the growing interest of stakeholders and decision makers around the world to generate evidence and guidance for scaling the PLL approach”.

PLL uses human-centered co-design in order to create learning opportunities in everyday places (bus stops, parks, supermarkets…etc). The main idea is to create spaces that enrich childrens, families and communities with playful learning, the interesting part is that PLL applies child-directed play methods that include:

  • Free play (no direct adult involvement),

  • Guided play (supported by adults toward a learning goal)

  • Games (rule-based activities with learning goals) “informed by the latest findings in developmental science. Guided play—the focus of interactions in PLL—allows children to maintain agency during their play with the guidance of an adult to provide structure and focus the activity around a learning goal (e.g., a well-curated exhibit in a children’s museum)”.

At MKThink we are also working on community projects that look to evolve design and planning with the needs of today. Learn more by contacting us. Or to read more about today's article, click here:

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