The first line of the article read:
Involving children in charettes is an opportunity not to be missed.
This particular article championed the inclusion of children in neighbourhood planning charettes.
Children often know more about the special places and paths in their neighborhoods than adults, and local schools are often willing to help involve their students in a charette.
We need to find ways to authentically include children in these planning processes. Planners from all levels of government, especially redevelopment authorities should not underestimate the value of including children in this process.
When children, adult community members, designers, planners and architects come around the table to plan places, great things can happen. At the moment, these opportunities are rare, but as organisations begin to embrace a child friendly cities framework, I anticipate we will see more of this.
Charette's aside, parents and other people in children's lives can help kids get a voice in their local neighbourhoods.
Next time you go for a local walk or a cycle with your children, ask them about their special places, why they like them. Ask what they don't like, and why and what they think we could do to change this. You may be surprised at the answers, at how simple they often are.
You can then support your children to relay their ideas to the local council or relevant authority. Depending on your child's age, you can support them to:
- look up their local councilor and/or find the appropriate member of staff to write to
- write a letter or email with their feedback or ideas
- perhaps include a drawing or photograph
- request a response
Also, children have a pretty good chance of getting a response to their correspondence and will feel their voice has been heard. And, you never know, the idea might just come to fruition.
At a recent trip to our local park, I asked my daughter what she thought would make the park nicer. Her answer was simple...flowers. I looked around and had to agree, the space was devoid of colour and flowers would probably make it nicer. It is likely this would be cheap and fairly easy to change by planting a few native, flowering plants.
So guess who'll be writing to the council next week......