YOUR CITY OUR CITY

INTRODUCTION to project proposal “WHERE CAN CAIRO’S CHILDREN PLAY?”

Cairo is one of the world’s densest cities, (greater) Cairo inhabiting around 19 million people, of which around 32% - 6 million - is under 14[1]. Public space is limited. Spaces open to public without entrance fees are hard to find in Cairo, let alone green spaces. The majority of public space has been privatized. True public spaces specially serving the needs of children are simply non-existent in Cairo. The privileged Cairenes go to their clubs, but where can the vast majority of children play? Should Cairo children pay to play?

General background: In April 2013 the Committee on Children’s Rights of the United Nations expressed their concern by the general poor recognition given to article 31: the right to play[2]. Playing is an underestimated need of children in urban environments. Free and active play benefits physical, cognitive and social development. A more child friendly public space would not only result in safe places for children to play and meet in, it would also stimulate a more active lifestyle, fighting the increasing numbers of overweight children and women (global problem, but in urban Egypt extremely high). Inclusion of children’s needs in public space, contributes to the empowerment of children, their citizen participation and sense of belonging to their city. The United Nations emphasize the need to create time and space for children to engage in spontaneous play (…), and to promote societal attitudes that encourage such activity.

Situation: In Cairo, the poor recognition for the right to play for all children is striking. The clubs are the only places with spaces designated for play; membership is unaffordable for the vast majority. In the densest areas of Cairo, inhabiting 65% of Cairo’s children, there are – apart from a few football courts for which children have to pay to play – simply no places designated for children or play.

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Integrating the concept of HOFJES ("courtdwellings") with "keyring", a framework for (in)formal neighboorhood care!

OUR PRICEWINNING SUBMISSION

Together with architect Peter van Assche (bureau SLA), care-expert Bart Lammers (bureau Ruyterveer ) and Kirsten Hannema, we have submitted to the competition WHO CARES. The competition asked for innovative ideas integrating solutions for the urgent social problem ( the growing demand for care at home from both professionals and volunteers) into the existing physical built environment. We won with our idea which is based on Peter's book 'handboek voor hedendaagse hofjes'  and Bart's concept of 'Burenbond'. We are proud we have been chosen (only 20 out of 176) to improve and extend our concept. I am part of the team as a designer of public space, integrating needs and wishes to make the public space working for all, young & old 

How can the built environment promote integration between care depending elderly and their neighborhood? About inviting routings and the possible barrieres.

Research for my MSc thesis at Technical University DELFT to create an analysing method and guidelines for design interventions optimizing probabilities for intergenerational contact. 

The research and guidebook were rewarded with a 9 out of 10 and an honourable mention by the university.

The method has been used for consults in diverse projects aiming to improve contact between elderly in elderly homes and their surroundings.

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For the Hogeschool INHOLLAND I did my thesis - rewarded with 9 out of 10 - on the optimal design for school playgrounds, how can we as designers influence a more positive and active behaviour on playgrounds?  

Children's behaviour in the schoolyards differentiate according to the lay-out and the (diversity of) play elements.

The behaviour which can be influenced by a well desiged schoolyard are: the activity rate of the children, the amount of bullying, and gender-specific behaviour,

The research resulted in a shortlist of 10 essential guidelines for designing a good playground, of which I still make use.

 

How to design for social cohesion in a new  neighbourhood?

analysis, research and design-advice for space to meet in (semi)public space. Resulting in advices for the routing, the squares and the interior of the neighbourhood meeting centre. Commissioned by SEV (Stichting Experimenten Volkshuisvesting) www.sev.nl and www.quawonen.nl

 

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how to optimize children's playing environment? How to change indoor play area's into more diverse, more challenging, more unique, more up-to-date playing paradises?

I analysed the indoor play areas, did research for new possibilities, and gave design-advice for the indoor play-halls: routing, zoning, addition or reduction of specific play-elements. These guidelines are used for all renovations of the Ballorig play halls.

In addition I designed 4 different play-containers, creating more intimate playing zones were children were invited to more diverse play.

Commissioned by Ballorig - the leading company with 31 indoor play areas in Europe. www.ballorig.nl