I was at Brisbane’s Ideas Festival today (and will be again tomorrow). There are several sessions and projects focused on urban futures and design including Innovator in Residence Carlo Ratti speaking about Urban Futures and Cultural Planner Charles Landry on Intercultural Cities. On display in a side walkway, this children’s installation attracted my attention. Children’s perspectives on cities aren’t often sought in consultation or planning processes. Adults usually speak on behalf of children and express their aspirations for them. However, I doubt that many planners and designers know much about how children experience or imagine the city. I recently read a report about children’s experiences walking to school: a magpie attack, a desolate stretch of road, the shadow of stranger danger or excessive traffic can easily detract from children’s sense of safety and wellbeing while walking.
This installation, Cities are our Future. Make a Plan, was created by students in years 6-8 at Toowong Primary School, Rainworth Primary School and St Stephen’s College, Coomera. It explores the elements of a vision for a sustainable city – Brisbane 2020. The students have explored sustainability through the design process and the models are created using recycled materials. In the process of creating this installation, the participating children have both learned about urban sustainability as well as expressed their vision for a sustainable future.
The post-it note says: “Grass playgrounds for kids because we want grass playgrounds. We don’t want tall buildings. We like the Eco City”.