When my children heard I would speak on a conference in Paris, they immediately asked me if I was going to visit Disneyland. I said ‘no’. But now, upon my return home to Warsaw, when I sat down to wrap up events of the week of IMCL conference in France, I realised that I actually had visited it.
My friend from the UK, who spends half of his life in Scandinavia corrected me once when I described children as less experienced users of a city. Children are not less experienced – they experience differently.
A speech during „City for everybody” session at Congress of Urban Policy, 2019
Personal summary of Placemaking Week Europe 2019 in Valencia
I have learnt to adapt. While moving on fixed routes around Warsaw I know how to switch off: I have big headphones with my favourite music for the route from work to home and e-book on my phone in case of longer trips on public transport. Sometimes, when I want a little change, I chose interaction with other people. Yet, my children exist here and now and they need to feed their need of being active here and now.
Getting ready for my presentation during “Children in the sustainable city” seminar I was thinking why children are so little present in designing cities, which they yet use. I remembered conversations with my friends of how much influence children – even the small ones – have on our purchase decisions. And I am not talking of small expenditures such as kids’ snacks or even clothes. Children co-decide when it comes to choosing cars, apartments, not to mention the destination of family summer holidays. In case of a car they might not be able to judge the engine’s performance or how economical it is, still we value their opinions, because we treat them as partners and equal users.