Expertiseportaal van de Hogeschool Gent


Who is (responsible for) making the environment child-friendly?: Experiences from an interdisciplinary academic exercise

Output: Bijdrage voor congresCongres - Meeting abstract

In contemporary practices of planning a more child-friendly environment, children and teenagers are often considered as a separate category with specific needs in specific spaces. We suggest a more relational approach where children are deemed full citizens who can take part in the urban debate. This shift means that discussions about space do not focus on different needs of different people, but rather on spatial quality itself as a shared good. In this logic, spatial quality is acquired through participatory design and planning processes including children and teenagers. That brings up the question: who are the professionals responsible for making the environment more qualitative? When talking about space, we can see that this concept has not one but many definitions: economical, ecological, aesthetical, social, etc. We cannot speak about ‘spatial quality’ taking in account just one of these meanings, as space contains all of them. When working with or in space, interdisciplinary work is a must. Interdisciplinary work is also recognised as an important competence in the schooling of future professionals like social workers and landscape architects, but it is rarely put into practice. Landscape architects (and maybe design-oriented studies in general) often work in an academic quarantine where some social realities are not considered, and social work students sometimes get little information about how spatial realities influence community-building. In the University college of Ghent we saw an opportunity here, and we have set up an interdisciplinary exercise bringing together students from the two aforementioned studies. Using a housing environment in the city of Ghent (Belgium) as a case with child-friendly planning is a central concept, we show the students the complexity, opportunities and value of working in an interdisciplinary team. We would like to share our experiences, thoughts and conclusions of this academic exercise.
Originele taalEngels
StatusGepubliceerd - 26-sep-2018
EventChild in the city 2018 - Wenen, Oostenrijk


CongresChild in the city 2018
Internet adres


Child in the city 2018: 9th Child in the City World Conference


Wenen, Oostenrijk

Event: Congres

ID: 18175149