Youngsters and public space is a combination that quickly brings to mind thoughts of irritation and destruction; groups of youngsters that no one dares to walk past, scooters precisely where they don’t ‘belong’, or skaters who use a work of art as a springboard. But there is an alternative!
Countless planning interventions, both large-scale and small, will be realized in the coming years. This seems the perfect moment to consult the youth. DSP-group has developed an instrument for involving youngsters in the development of plans for public space: Kids & Space is an instrument in which youngsters from 12 to 18 years old make their wishes known and develop ideas for public space and the built facilities. The youngsters make a plan themselves, build models and present their ideas.
There is much to learn from listening to youngsters. They use the space now and will be responsible for it in the future. They know what youngsters want and what motivates them. They can see places for playing that an adult would never have thought of, or can anticipate problems, sometimes better than an urban designer or landscape architect. Kids & Space is fun and challenging and makes use of the youngster’s creativity.
Step by step
- We start Kids & Space by telling the youngsters a few things about urban design and the existing plans. We teach them to look their surroundings by presenting slides that show good and bad examples.
- Then discuss with each other. What do you think is important? How is the area used now and how do you want to use it in the future? What elements would you like to add?
- They visit the site together with professionals.
- The youngsters make a model of the designated area. Each element in the model represents a number of points. Since there are a maximum number of points to divide up, the youngsters have to make choices. After all, space and financial means are limited and other target groups lay claim to both as well.
- The youngsters present their models to designers, city council and resident’s organizations.
Tailor-made instrument Kids & Space is not a rigid program. Together with the client, it is tailored to the specific situation. The device can be deployed for both large-scale restructuring operations as well as smaller plans on the neighborhood level when redeveloping of a park, plaza or recreation area. Kids & Space takes approximately three months. The course can be extended by presenting the youngsters with a more detailed plan in a later phase. They can then assess whether the ideas they contributed have been sufficiently included in the plan.
DSP-groep joined the, EU financed, project ‘Streets for Living’ with co-operating cities Hilversum (NL), Swindon (UK), and Plaine Commune (F). The goal of the project was to develop caring, sustainable and safe public spaces. Look at the Streets for Living website for more info.
DSP-groep employs experts in the fields of socially safe design, youth participation and neighborhood development. An enthusiastic team of independent professionals is responsible for the implementation of Kids & Space, often in cooperation with (multi) cultural organizations and schools.
Online Casino cultural envolvment
Not only cultural organisations stepped up to reach out a helping hand. Companies from other industries also came across. To give an example: The HR Manager of Polder Casino Per Ekström agreed upon a annual fundraising among other online casinos. The goal of the fundraising is collecting money in order to start extra youth-projects. They came up with a pretty creative idea to give the casinoplayers an option to donate there money instead of collecting freespins. Freespins are free spins on 1 of the online slotmachines that are available in the majority of the online casinos.
Stay Healthy initiative
We also started a cooperation with a huge Dutch Health platform: https://stayhealthy.nl
On this platform there is a youth section, where al information regarding youth health related issues. The blog-articles are readable for all ages (12+). You can create a user0account on the website and make sure you will be held up to date via the daily health-article of the day email.