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.
It starts from the old proverb that children and fish have no voice. A newer example? A month ago Rzeczpospolita, one of the biggest Polish dailies, writing about dog’s food, as a catch phrase announced that according to the Gfk’s report in Poland there is more households with dogs than children.
Yesterday, when I was getting ready for an interview on the need of including children’s needs in designing commercial projects, I made a short review of sectors. On one end of the spectrum is logistics, where for objective reasons, which is safety, children should not be present. At the other end there are multifunctional projects, which are private spaces aspiring to be part of a city.
In between I placed office buildings. By default children are not welcome there, still tenants are often invited to bring their dogs. I do not judge it, it’s a reflection of our present work culture. After the pandemic though, the culture is changing before our eyes. I am very interested in which direction the culture and consequently the office space will go. Is it going to become a space, where adults will have a chance to „rest” from children, which they have at home on everyday basis or if, by opposite, family life is going to move to offices, the same way as during and after the pandemics work moved to homes. On that spectrum I am surprised with private students houses, which aspire to be inclusive, still do not accept children. Although, to be fair, animals neither.
And now a private reflection. For a long time my son, hearing somebody talking on punishing children, was getting upset and informing the person that: Our mom does not punish us, because she says we are not dogs. I confirm. My children are getting bigger and I still believe that raising them consists in talking and listening to each other, not on giving or taking away treats. When we understand that, we will start talking with children also about urban space, because it concerns them in the same way as us.