Urban Commons | Urban Open Source
Playing with the City
Sensitive Urbanism: taking the urban perspective of children seriously
Bauhütte Südliche Friedrichstadt & Urbanitas Berlin Barcelona
The Bauhütte, Berlin’s first large concept new-build project comprising numerous parcels of land, will soon be found in southern Friedrichstadt. The Bauhütte connects the development of a former flower market hall with projects concerned with civic participation, urban politics and architecture, young people and education, temporary use and business development. The goal is to encourage investors and residents – both new and established – to cooperate with one another, promoting a sense of social cohesion. By following an open-minded concept the Bauhutte bridges the gap between planners and public, involving local residents in the development of the project. The result is a community platform upon which participation takes place on an equal footing.
As soon as it is designed specially for children, urban space is segmented into zones. Playgrounds fenced-off for younger children and sectioned-off sports areas for older ones are typical sights in the contemporary cityscape. However, increasingly, children are becoming involved in design processes and as a result gaining a valuable education on the effects of participation. Children are adventurous, inquisitive and above all, natural inventors. Instead of totally designed, pre-determined spaces, they love incomplete, open fields with all the opportunities of appropriation such spaces offer.
“Sensitive Urbanism” takes such preferences seriously, realising that in order to learn from such spaces children must have the opportunity to work and play with them on their own. Their urban expertise should be given as much weight as that of estate agents, urban planners, homeowners and local authorities. Invited guest will be presenting models for Sensitive Urbanism – such as the project “Alice Archive” project by Urbanitas Berlin Barcelona – and will discuss how their implementation can contribute and develop the concept. It’s time we paid some more attention to the urban perspectives of our youngest citizens.