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The right to play: for a more child-friendly city

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders  •  2019-08-27  •    3 comments
The right to play: for a more child-friendly city
The right to play: for a more child-friendly city


Proposal code: DEMO-2019-08-2

We want to improve public spaces for children to play. We propose clean, creative parks, play again in squares and streets (as before) and create a network of public toy libraries.

"Children need time and space to play. Play is not a luxury, it is a necessity" Kay Redfield.

Play is fundamental to children's health, development and well-being. Play is a right under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 31), yet it is one of the most neglected and forgotten. Today, children play half as long as their parents did at their age, with consequences for their physical and mental health. Therefore, we propose these concrete measures to guarantee the right to play in Madrid.

PLAY OUTDOOR: in parks, squares, streets and courtyards Ensure playgrounds are well maintained, clean and have shaded areas. Design new parks and renovate existing ones using materials from nature to promote creativity and free play and ensure that they are inclusive, accessible, sustainable, safe and intergenerational. Reclaim squares as intergenerational meeting spaces, playgrounds and recreation areas within the city. To recover the streets as play spaces, adapting European good practices such as proposing the closing of one street per neighbourhood to traffic for community use and for children, temporarily or permanently as requested by the neighbourhood. Create safe school paths for all schools. Progressively renovate schoolyards so that they are creative, inclusive spaces, with an element of nature, co-designed with children and key actors.

PLAY INDOORS: Create a network of municipal toy libraries as a refuge to continue playing when weather conditions make it difficult to play outdoors. Create and/or set up indoor and air-conditioned play areas in sports centres, cultural centres and other underused buildings, in all neighbourhoods of Madrid, for children of all ages, gender, accessible, inclusive and safe. Create a pilot project: Covered Municipal Free Play Space. Ensure a space dedicated to upbringing per neighbourhood with sufficient capacity to meet the needs of babies, boys and girls from 0 to 3.

THE RIGHT TO PLAY FOR ALL: Incorporate 1 m2/inhabitant for play in the sustainable urban planning of the municipality to create, recover or expand play areas in the city. Provide the main cultural and leisure centres in each district with accessible, inclusive, sustainable and safe play areas for girls and boys. Decentralize leisure and cultural activities in all neighbourhoods/districts and ensure their free and/or accessibility.

Allow healthy play by applying air quality measures in children's play areas. Include children in the design and evaluation of new public play spaces.


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