Transforming Streets Through Co-creation With Children as a Mode of Design
A consortium of European partners led by CARNET launched the third edition of FURNISH (https://furnish.tech/), our ground-breaking project dedicated to building new social spaces in European streets. This third edition, named FURNISH-KIDS, is focused on the co-creation of urban elements with children, aiming to incorporate the capacity of kids to envision the future by using a diverse sample of design techniques. Indeed, children naturally interact with the space whenever they feel instigated by it. These spaces, when designed, not only for, but with them, have the potential to promote happier and healthier spaces for all users in the present, and to shape more resilient and conscious citizens in the future. Regarding this potentiality, many cities are already taking initiatives to reclaim public spaces for people and build safer and larger spaces for pedestrians and active mobility.
Considering this shift and thanks to the municipalities of Barcelona and Milan, FURNISH-KIDS partners will intervene in two complex sites: Gran Via Avenue in Barcelona −recently pedestrianized− and Piazzale Loreto in Milan. Both places are relevant hot points in their cities and are in the process of change. The design of these future transformed areas is an opportunity for both cities to re-think their urban spaces, considering the direct intervention of children and schools to build more inclusive spaces.
In the past months and following this initiative, a series of collaborative workshops with children took place, carried out by the project partners Elisava and IAAC. These workshops boosted the co-creation phase of the FURNISH-KIDS project. Thus, despite the general location of the project proposal being pre-defined by each municipality, the specific location and purpose of the prototype have been defined during this co-ideation process thanks to the three different schools that were involved in this innovative experience: Escola Casas (Barcelona), Escola Provençals (Barcelona) and Istituto Comprensivo Q. Di Vona T. Speri (Milan).
This co-creation process will result in three installations being developed between September and November 2022, which will be tested and assessed by CARNET and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC). Thereafter the co-creation process, children are part of an urban living lab, guaranteeing that the full process is not only user-oriented or user-sourced, but also user-created. This will guarantee that the reactivation of our streets is socially responsive.
FURNISH-KIDS is a project co-funded by the EIT Urban Mobility and has put together a unique consortium. The consortium consists of: CARNET, Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Elisava, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), the Municipality of Barcelona, and the Municipality of Milan.
For more information, please check out the project website: https://furnish.tech/