The contemporary cities, specially the megalópolis, that is to say those who are excessively big and dispersed, have been designed traditionally for that male that we consider to be healthy, active, productive and motorized. In them the car is the one that occupies first place and in his center children do not meet.
And they are not seen, because they are not. Because the historical, commercial center, front of weekends and office for the executives, lacks peaceful parks, safety in his streets and sidewalks, itineraries for the bicycles, of sports equipments, places of meeting and adventure out of danger, spaces to love, to recognize, to daydream, to explore and to cross. Plazas and streets like them of before, in that the children we were playing with our friends, we were going to the college walking, in streetcar or bus and us we were feeling protected by a nice territory where to be a citizen it was a privilege, already you were a child or not.
Tonucci, architect and psychologist, proposes to rethink the city by means of the civil participation, especially that of the smallest. He proposes sure itineraries in order that they go alone to the school, monitored over the inhabitants of the city (included motorists, urban policemen and citizenship in general); he proposes Advices formed by children, who are they those who of a way not manipulated by the major ones, indicate his preferences to us. And these preferences have to see, according to his experience, with the possibility of playing in the street, of which squares and parks exist, of not being enclosed and isolated inside four walls, with the TV garbage as only allied … to the wait of which his parents come from the work.
“It is desirable”, says Tonucci, “ to accept the intrinsic diversity of the child as guarantee of all the diversities”; to promote “the free and spontaneous game that is alike the highest experiences of the adult (…) Those who are opposite to the complexity, in the possibility of being left to drive for the great engine of the pleasure”; to create “Children’s Laboratories” where they could express his dreams and needs, granting the word to them, taking part and working with them, as town planners of the cities of the future. This experience has developed with enough good results in Frano’s city (Italy) and some attempts have been realized also in some municipalities of average size of our country, as that of Alcobendas.
Between other offers for an ideal city, the small one wrote:
“I wish a park. Or rather, two. For if the first one breaks”.
This book, speech of the Utopia, according to the understanding that the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano does of this word:
“That one that is at the end of the line of the horizon; for much that I travel, I will never reach her. In order that it serves the Utopia, then? For it it serves: to walk”.
Cristina García-Rosales. architect
madrid. july 2012