SANTA FE (AR)
Client: 100 Resilient Cities
Program: Participatory activity to involve children in the Santa Fe Resilient Strategy in the design of the future Parque del Norte
Scope: Design of workshop dynamics and material
As part of the Resilient Strategy of the city of Santa Fe program, we were invited to design and implement a participatory activity specifically conceived for kids of 8-11 years. The aim of the activity was to collect suggestions and ideas about future programs and public equipment to be installed in the Parque del Norte, a reactivated natural area which will be included in the future urban development on the Northern border of the city. The activity took place in the Botanical Garden, which will be integrated into the future park.
The first explorative stroll consisted of discovering the treasures of the area and observing the fascinating details of nature. Participating kids then reported their thoughts about what they would like to do in the future park on aerial pictures. Some suggestions were given through keywords, icons, and mapping.
The main part of the activity consisted of a more interactive exercise: each kid designed and created their own micro-landscape, representing with a sort of scale model the way they imagined the future Parque del Norte. The components of these micro landscapes are the same for every kid, but the results are remarkably different. Each child had a transparent cubic box to be filled with the items they preferred among the natural elements they found in the exploration (leaves, berries, small branches, etc), the figurative material we prepared for the activity (drawings on acetate, colored cardboard, etc), and ordinary objects to be reinterpreted (wooden sticks, wires, stickers, woolen threads, etc). The kit created by each kid varied substantially.
The Kit for Kids method represents a level of consultation which is creative and forward thinking. Not only is it important to design environments which are family-friendly, it is also important to have the understanding that kids will be the users of future environments. Kids should be one of the most important stakeholders in any design project. The Kit for Kids method is scalable and is offered as a design solution.