How to work with children? From running workshops and talking to children I have learnt the rule of 3L. The Ls are simple and difficult in the same time: Listen, Learn and Love.
During one of the conferences, while discussing what a perfect place for children looks like, I realised it is like a permanent campsite, where kids can play free, have other children as company, and in the same time have adults within their reach to support them if they are hungry, in trouble or in need of a toilet. Being 6 years old I experienced that kind of perfectness during my holidays to Libya.
I like charrette workshop a lot. It is one of the most sustainable consultation methods, allowing to hear needs of many stakeholders. I also like a lot Mycielski Architecture and Urbanism (MAU) design studio, which is a pioneer of that method in Poland. In addition I miss Teatralny square in Warsaw (presently a big car park, where Polish National Opera is) from 2016. Then, on the occassion of Music Days cars dissapeared for a couple of days, and the space was filled up with greenery and people (photo above). So, when the three elements met and I read that MAU would be organising charrette workshop on the square on the city’s commision, I knew I would take part in it.
A week ago the media published a photo of a restaurant door with a sign saying “Children and dogs – no entry without muzzle”. The notice caused outrage, which I understand. In the same time, dealing with children rights in urban space, I see how often in Poland in social discourse children and animals are put in the same box.
After May in Le Plessis-Robinson, where I was surrounded by a new ‘old town’, in June I went for CHANGING CITIES V conference. It took place in Corfu town, which made me reflect further on a topic of place, continuity and power, as well as different aspects of memory in urban environment. Memory of the place was also a big topic of the conference itself, with a day session devoted to it.
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.