Until December 15, 2022, the municipality of Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine) is organizing workshops, meetings and debates on the place of children in the city.
Gaëlle Rougier, education assistant, explains why their reappropriation of public space is central.
Have the children disappeared from the public space?
It’s a bit cartoonish. But we realize that after the war with the development of the car and the new social norms, leaving your child in the public space is frowned upon.
Young people, like adults, confine themselves to their private spaces. This is why we decided to set up these meetings. Children must be able to reclaim the city.
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How to adapt our public space?
The objective is not necessarily to define specific spaces but on the contrary to adapt existing facilities and circulation areas. By rethinking, for example, the place of the car. The idea is to build the city of tomorrow with them. To show them that they can act and meet future challenges.
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By the end of the year, we hope to be able to produce a children’s guide for all of the city’s services. In this way, the youngest will be taken into account from the design of a public development.
And concretely, what arrangements need to be redesigned?
Several devices already exist such as “La rue aux enfants”. In the vicinity of the Gantelles and Joseph Lotte schools, in the morning and at noon, the streets are closed to cars to develop their autonomy. Or the days dedicated to children, in certain squares in the city, such as Maurepas and Bréquigny.
There is still work to be done, especially on public transport. To facilitate the mobility of the youngest, signage and street furniture should be adapted in terms of both their design and their ergonomics. We also realized that the playgrounds were very little used, because they were not adapted to their needs. Today we are rethinking these spaces by working on the imagination of adventure.