“The public realm is wonderfully diverse. It covers public buildings and open spaces, the streets of our neighbourhoods, which transmit so many signals about the health of a community.”
Rt Hon Tessa Jowell MP in a speech to Demos, April 2005
"Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people."
Enrique Peñalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia
*Seen and Heard - Reclaiming the public realm with children and young people will be launched on Wednesday 14th October at 9am at The Young Vic, 66 The Cut. Register here*
Listen to the podcast:
The public realm encompasses the physical, cultural and social environment. Children and young people are important users of the public realm for play, informal recreation and for moving from place to place. A healthy public realm benefits children, offering them positive experiences and welcoming them as valued citizens. Moreover it is particularly important to them as they have little economic power, and hence fewer alternatives for their free-time activities than adults. However, children’s access to the public realm is currently heavily restricted – as much by physical barriers as by adult attitudes and anxieties. While heavy investment in play provision is currently set to deliver physical improvements, there is a need to address the wider social, cultural and political context in which the children’s public realm is being shaped.
The project is commissioned by Play England, a five-year project to support and develop children’s play across the English regions, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. We aim to explore the position of children in the present-day public realm by asking questions such as:
The project runs from September 2006 to Summer 2007 and will involve expert interviews, a series of case studies of a variety of different types of practice. In Spring 2007 there will be a pilot in which Demos will work together with children, policymakers and experienced play pioneers in the field to test our interim findings in the field
For more information contact Joost Beunderman
email@example.com / 020 7367 6317
CAPABLE studies children's behaviour and perceptions in an effort to understand how children currently use the local environment and what can be done to make it easier and safer for them to move about on foot.
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