Dream of future playground | Mirage News
Denser cities and fewer green spaces. What is left for children when the urban landscape changes? It’s a big part of the architectural courses at Chalmers, but also the theme of this year’s technology competition where school pupils designed the playground of the future. In Gothenburg and other major cities, major densification projects are planned in the coming years. But how can the city be adapted to children when spaces are becoming denser and green spaces are becoming rarer? These are questions that Chalmers students reflect on daily in various projects, often in close collaboration with the city.
Several student projects have been carried out with a focus on the child’s perspective, for example in the Designing and Planning for Social Inclusion course where Chalmers Masters students designed and shaped a number of places suitable for children in the city, such as a parkour park, a space-themed playground, and an outdoor classroom, dubbed “The Story of Gärdsås Bog”.
– It is very important to raise the point of view of children, otherwise it is an easily forgotten group, because they do not have a voice in society in the same way as adults. Therefore, it is important for architects to practice listening to, engaging and involving children in every project, whether the project itself focuses on children or not, says Emilio Da Cruz Brandao, who teaches architecture at Chalmers and manages degree projects in the Masters. Architecture and Planning Beyond Sustainability program.
The students of the Reality Studio course work globally from the perspective of children and have, among other things, been involved in projects such as the construction of playgrounds and schools in Kenya.
– When the students return, they will present their process to the children here in Gothenburg, to show how important the children’s perspective is all over the world. It will be a very important learning process for everyone, says Emilio Da Cruz Brandao.
Victoria McCrea is a student who worked to elevate the children’s perspective and participated in the outdoor classroom construction project. In her diploma project, she designed a kindergarten and a language school together in the same building in Kortedala, Gothenburg. This project was based on her experience as an SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) pupil and preschool substitute in Gothenburg and was created in close cooperation with SFI teachers.
– I think it is important as an architect to gather the opinions of those who will use the places we create.
Today, Victoria McCrea works with design schools in an architect’s office in Lund, Sweden.
– It’s still early in my career, but I hope to be able to use all my experiences in future projects. Life after school is a completely different sea to navigate. Rarely do you work with clients who are willing to pay to incorporate the woodpecker, frog dance, and kids’ opinions into a project, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to create space for them!
The technology competition continues this theme
This year’s technology competition, aimed at fifth and sixth graders, is also tied to the theme of children’s perspective in the urban landscape. Students are tasked with building their vision of what a playground will look like in 100 years, building a creative model that will encourage them to play outside together. They had to work like real engineers, from the idea to the finished prototypes. Then they filmed their projects where they talk about what they want the playgrounds of the future to look like.
Almost 130 contributions were received from all over Sweden. Of these, six scholarships excelled the most and they are allowed to share 25,000 SEK in scholarships.
Dorotea Blank at Chalmers works to inspire and engage children and young people and was a driving force in the technology competition.
– Getting involved in developing the knowledge of future generations is one of the best investments in the future that Chalmers can make. I am convinced that students’ desire for technology and creative problem solving has been sparked by this year’s technology challenge. A big compliment to all the teachers who motivate, inspire and push the students. It should be noted that the children had a great time, she said.
This is confirmed by students from Bergsgårdsskolan in Angered, Gothenburg, who say the most fun thing about taking part in the tech competition was building and thinking about what the future will look like. And teacher Michaela Oskarsson agrees.
– We see that it is inspiring and rewarding for the children to get involved and that they have a good idea of the technological subject and what an engineer can work with, she says.
The students’ contribution to the playground of the future in 2121 is now on display in various Gothenburg libraries.
Text: Vedrana Sivac and Johanna Fasth