As you may know, in our ‘toolkit’ for the participatory processes we usually carry out in parallel to our urban projects, there are often some materials we specifically conceive to allow the participation of children and teenagers. As part of our commitment towards inclusive processes we aim to target different social groups in our activities; especially that part of civic society that usually doesn’t have a voice in the collective debate about urban issues. Children have a particularly honest and imaginative look, and trying to understand a society or culture through their eyes is a privilege we keep enjoying project after project.
In particular, during our four latest projects in South America we detected this specific need to involve young population in participatory processes and we begun to design specific ‘kits’ for kids. As a result, we now have four different versions, developed in close relationship with the local context but also with many common features in mind. These ‘children participation kits’ are designed as a series of A4 or A3 paper sheets and they are explicitly designed to be easily reproducible. All the kits you can see in this post were used during the activities with children carried out by ecosistema urbano and our local collaborators in the schools and children’s centers of the city where the projects took place.
The different versions of these kits share the same aims:
- Incline children and teenagers towards the urban development of their city through reflection and creativity, making them more aware of what is happening around them and improving their own ability to understand and act upon it.
- Involve both children and their families. The activities in which kids participate —and the results they generate— attract the interest of parents and other family members who otherwise may not have the opportunity to approach the ongoing planning or design process.
- Communicate the results; imaginative children’s eyes have the regenerative and exciting potential to bring freshness and friendliness to a process people often see as “serious” and complicated. These ‘kits’ allow us to channel that communicative potential.