Prototyping Cities for Children

Prototyping Cities for Children


Panorama-workshopping proposals for child-friendly urban environments

In the end of March, the City of Malmö hosted a meeting with delegates from the Cities for Children network. The aim of this European network is to offer cities the possibility to exchange, and develop progressive concepts across national borders on how to promote the well-being of children, young persons and parents in the urban environment.

In connection to the meeting Unsworn Industries organised a panorama workshop with a focus on developing multi-functional outdoor environments for children as well as office workers. The goal of the workshop was not only to discuss design matters, but also to get the chance to try out, and experiment with a new kind of tool for prototype-oriented city development, and citizen-dialogue - that is, the Parascope.

One-hour Panorama Workshop

The set-up of the panorama workshop is based upon experiences made, and learnings gained from previous panorama workshops, e.g. in Gothenburg in collaboration with the Ingrepp research group, in Alnarp at the Movium conference, or in Nydala in collaboration with Medea and Malmö University.

The design brief handed out to the workshop participants was:

Re-design the yard outside the City hall into a multi-functional outdoor space to be used by kindergarten children, civil servants, and the general public.

The actual site they were to re-design was located just outside the window where the workshop took place. One hour was the impossibly short amount of time they had to their disposal to come up with a design proposal. The participants were working in groups of four, and visualised, tested, re-tested their proposals by sketching, drawing collages on panoramic images of the physical site. The panoramas they produced were digitalised, and uploaded on-line, as well as into a Parascope for swift comparison on-site, outdoors in the yard

Despite the tight workshop schedule there were some very interesting ideas, and design-proposals developed.

The workshop participants stated that they clearly could see benefits of applying this methodology in urban planning processes. They saw potentials in using the Parascope, and organising panorama workshops both when it comes to collaborative design processes involving urban planners and citizens, as well as when communicating ideas, and forthcoming changes.