Free children and our city

Sait Ozkal Uregir *

It’s April again, and of course, we thought of the children. But one aspect of the problem is not being able to meet a child who plays freely on the street, goes to the grocery store alone and wanders around town. Over the years, we’ve seen kids celebrate April 23 from the windows of tall buildings on their porches (which we call the effects of the epidemic). Of course, this is not a very pleasant situation to be a child, celebrate Children’s Day on the balcony.

For a long time, April 23 was spent with celebrations held behind the school walls. Forcing kids from the city to celebrate the holidays within the walls. Especially in recent years, we as city dwellers have become very introverted. Our right to be human, our right to be urban was taken away from us in the process of becoming a modern city and they opened up a new field of struggle for humanity.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

Although we humans have lost our place of living and integration with the city, our cities have lost their mental and physical elegance and aesthetics in the last thirty years. Children, the most important object of the city, have become one of the most valuable fields of freedom. The cities that have lost their inner children are what we call modern cities. The child’s place in the city is the place of safety, ease, freedom, happiness, aesthetics, slowness and cleanliness of the city. The existence of a child in the city is the existence of human mental and physical health. The child is the memory of the city, the main actor who will transfer the city and its culture in the future. Therefore, the more children can be an active part of the city alone, the better the city will be. As architect Ali Ozlar says; “In that city a child can safely go to the grocery store and buy lollipops and return home safely. It’s a good city. “

The great change that began in our cities in the 1980s took our cities out of the hands of the children, which were our childhood freedom zones and turned them into the freedom zones of the objects of the capitalist system, the cities of the West. The senses.

When trying to describe the ideal city, I never thought I would apply the phrase, starting with “when we were kids …” at the age of 45 (one of the seven faulty sentences for the current generation of Z’s). Of course times were not easy, the cities of our childhood. The town I live in was full of horse-drawn carriages. The town we lived in had a lot of rubbish, a lot of mud, a lot of rubble. But we have to walk to grocery stores, cafes, schools, on trips, to my father’s workplace, on the most popular streets or anywhere else. When I was younger, I would walk out of the house alone, walk down the street, stare at the bus repairmen nearby, try to cool off from the ice factory in the summer heat of Adana, the horse-drawn carriage, with my child’s confidence, what my father allowed from the grocery store. Bought, and proudly I dream of returning home. Coming home alone from that dirty and colorful road, I want to be a garbage man one day, a mechanic one day, a veterinarian one day and an astronaut another day whose endless dream. After all, I became an architect in the same city.

Pictures of Gevorg

Architect Louis Kahn; “The city where a child decides what will happen in the future when he wanders the streets.” Said

When I was growing up, our free cities became modern cities one by one. The cities that have become cities in our country have narrowed the field of children’s freedom and have quickly moved away from children.

Of course, to the point that we have reached the point where, for a child in the modern cities of our country, it seems like a very romantic aspiration to expect movement and freedom as before, it also wants the basic rights of citizens. A city free of all objects that endanger the freedom of the child.

Considering the subject in the context of memory, removing the mind and memory of a child away from the zero level of city life, freedom, roads, streets, neighbors, businessmen, indicates that the memory of the city will carry forward for 78 years. Even the culture of coexistence without being a city will be questioned in the future. In the years to come, nothing will remain of the city in the minds of those generations who are deprived of the freedom granted to the land.

Children are far from placing real games in their verticals instead of horizontally. Roads and games, which emphasize social cohesion, where social interaction is strong and interpersonal communication is established, cannot meet the neighbors’ perceptions that evoke love, sharing, solidarity, warmth, sincerity, trust, friendship and street culture and increasing connectivity. Becomes isolated. Urban space. In the world of architecture, for those who are well aware of this fact, communication and playground design standards are discussed in skyscrapers and high-rise buildings. Children try to socialize their vertical world with the key and finger in the virtual playground. Most of the street games are preparing to enter the list of cultural heritage that needs to be preserved in the future.

Pictures of Gevorg

There are, of course, studies and initiatives that try to plan for children in urban life in the modern world. There are cities in the west that are trying to create free space for children. There are studies of urban transformation that fight the object of capitalism, especially automobiles. There are some cities that have partially succeeded in pedestrians and have reduced safety concerns. In the past there were some cities that could still live together, as we know them, that did not move away from their children. UNICEF has the Child Friendly Cities Initiative. In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the initiative calls for making cities and settlements safe, resilient and sustainable for children. The initiative includes cities from Turkey. Cities4Children have movement. Child-friendly city conferences are held. There are conventions on children’s rights, there are hundreds of scientific studies, there are many efforts, there are good examples, but in spite of all these studies, the places where cities are flowing fast are far from the target.

There is a need for more pedestrian roads, lanes, accessible schools and roads that also teach to reach the city.

Zoning plans for automobile and parking lots, separate buildings, ramped gardens, accelerated roads, simplified intersections for vehicles, automobiles and parking lots; It has become a clear threat to our future, to our children.

City administrators, regulators and planners who shape cities act as if parking problems are the only problem in cities, leaving children and people alone. They are sacrificing cities, free children in cities, to solve parking lots and automobile problems. In the end, there is not much that can be said about the future of cities.

-More parking turns into more cars, more cars more roads more roads more speeds more cars more speeds and more roads -… The automobile-based capitalist planning model that has kept us trapped in their vicious cycle. Those who have no place to stay on the ground plane tend to flee from the ground and get stuck in concrete pipes rising into the sky.

Although the visible face of the problem is automobile, there are dozens of problems such as introversion due to bad urbanization, variability of population structure, extinction of neighboring and surrounding culture, urbanization and introversion, change of population structure in the city. Transformation, invisible culture, immigration, integration, income injustice. The basic elements that threaten the safety of the child and thus the independence of the city.

Decisions based on saving days, planning studies on the same basis, zoning amendments, regulations and laws are unfortunately not sustainable for humanity. The cities that have been transformed from the cities of our childhood are not committed to the areas of freedom of children and human beings.

The city child question will be a very important way to understand the beautiful urban setting. What I’m talking about is not building playgrounds or organizing children’s workshops. (Of course they are all very valuable).

Means a child living with the city; This means the emotionally and physically beautiful city of the future, where cities may exist with interaction, face-to-face communication, social cohesion and sharing culture from roads, sports, safety and security, where social class, source, immigrant, faith, and city Always hug.

We should imagine unplanned time, undefined space and open city where every child can come in contact with the city and other children without holding the hand of their adult, their own decision and self-determined boundaries for children of all social sections. The level of income living in our city. The city that lives with children can only be; This can be solved by politicians, architects and planners who have an ideal for everyone else, for the child and for the people. We still know what kind of city we want for people, for our kids, because some of us live there. All of them are still in our memory and in our hands. If we want to reach a better city in the future, we need to redefine our vision, our definition of the city and its people, through the child.

* Architect [email protected]

Reading list:

Erman, oh. (2014). Associate Professor Kukurova University, Lecturer in the Department of Architecture. Southern Architecture Magazine, P: 16, Child to Urban Life, 10-13.

Independent, GB (2014). Associate Professor, University of Balikesi, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Department of Architecture. Southern Architecture Magazine, P: 16, Being a Child in the City of the 21st Century, 14-16.

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