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Press

apolitical
 

Designing cities for kids helps everyone. Here’s how to convince government

Better data and a child's eye view can be useful tools for building support high up

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Senior people in city government don’t always see why there is a need to modify public space for children. Mayors and public servants are judged, and returned to office, on “bigger” issues such as their economic record or whether the trains run on time. “It is hard to advocate for children and young people, because they don’t have a natural voice,” said Bornat.

Despite this, Bornat managed to convince the mayor of the East London borough of Hackney to commit to making the borough child-friendly by 2026. Local government will help manage public space for the benefit of children, while encouraging developers to build open spaces for them to congregate and play.

In a research project conducted in 2016, Bornat demonstrated that the approach improves lives. “We were able to show we could move away from anecdote and towards actual data and outcomes,” she said.

Bornat and her team analysed housing estates across England, mapping their layout and scoring them for their accessibility to children. They then observed how children used the space.

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Hackney Gazette
 

De Beauvoir Primary School kids create blueprint for child-friendly Hackney project.

Creative kids are at the heart of a long-term town hall project to make Hackney a more child-friendly place to grow up.

Year 5 students from De Beauvoir Primary School have been working with a team of architects, researchers and photographers to stamp their mark on any future development in their near surroundings. Backed by Hackney Council, the students were tasked with taking photographs of the De Beauvoir Estate and working out how the area can be improved. According to the team at ZCD Architects, who have been working with the students for the past nine weeks, the overwhelming desire from the younger crowd is for more, and safer, places to play.

A survey with the students also showed just two kids in the year cycle to school, but more than a third would take up the option if they felt it was safe enough to do so.

Mayor of Hackney Phil Glanville, who was carrying out his first visit to a school since being re-elected to the role earlier this month, said: “Instead of making decisions for you as young people, we wanted to see what you thought about the area. “All too often people sit in town hall offices and say ‘this is how people are going to live on the ground’, but they never go out there and ask people. “When they do go out there and speak to people, they don’t ask young people about what they think and how they want to use those spaces. “We believe if we are going to solve some of the big problems in Hackney, you have to start with grass roots and ask young people what words like ‘play’ and ‘safe’ mean to them.”

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ZCD Architects
Child Friendly Cities
 

Our research has been picked up by the Mayor of London and the Evening Standard to discuss the importance of London becoming more child friendly. Read the full article below. 

 
 
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ZCD Architects
Salon Magazine: Hussein Chalayan
 

ZCD Architects' scheme for Hussein Chalayan’s first London shop on Bourdon Street was published in the Ukrainian Salon Magazine. 

 
ZCD Architects