During my recent years of doing placemaking processes with communities (children), I ask about what elements attract them to spend time outdoors in public spaces.
These are mostly repeated elements that I hear during my conversations 👇🏻
The target group I refer to in this post is school female students, 13-16 years old, in different areas in Sweden:
– More benches (To sit alone or with their friends or a family member to relax, talk, eat, or drink)
– More greenery e.g. flowers and trees (They prefer to go to a public space with more vegetation than one with hard surfaces. Even if that green place is far away)
– More trash cans
– A drinking water tap
– A public space should have a clear spatial design concept (it helps them to read, and navigate different places, to understand/come up with what activities can be done there)
– A part of public spaces provides protection from snow or rain
– A bus stop close by, or an accessible bike or walk path.
To be honest, they are not asking for something BIG! All their requirements/wishes are necessary and make sense to have in a public space!
But still, so many public spaces still missing many of these basic elements. I understand there are a lot of limitations and hierarchy in what elements should be in which public space due to for example sq.m size, location, budget, etc, but seriously these are basic elements that children are asking for to enjoy their outdoor life.