On a blistery, cold but sunny morning in Brooklyn, Future Planners organized a Walk & Talk Tour™ for a group of children (and their parents). These energized kids took to the streets to voice their thoughts on the cityscape that surrounds them daily. From two to seven years old, they shared their thoughts on what they like and dislike along Atlantic Avenue, a street that three centuries ago started as a dirt road which lead to the Patchen Farm located, along the East River. Fast toward to today and Atlantic Ave is one of the most important arteries of the Brooklyn borough.
For some this was a new experience, others were veterans of previous Future Planners events and enrichment classes for kids. What they all had in common was enthusiasm and a forthright conviction on their ideas about how they experience their community. Suggestions ranged from updating bus shelter benches to become user-friendly for the homeless, to using bike racks as jungle gyms. Their suggestions fluctuated from fun and frivolous, to politically sensitive.
Having children lead adults, sharing their passion for what they see, feel and experience instills an awareness that as young city-zens their voices matter. Small yet powerful events such as these are an important step in creating a sense of civic participation, making our cities more sustainable for all generations.
Discussing Bus Shelters
Analyzing City Maps
Sampling Urban Furniture
Testing Citi Bikes
How would our neighborhoods change if a majority of the streetscape were not used primarily as storage for cars?
Children playing a game of pick-up soccer
Older people strolling by and sitting on stoops
Couples passing on bikes
Toddlers free to walk and fall without worry
Benches full of teenagers gossiping and giggling
Someone reading a book or a magazine
If we want our streets to be ALIVE we have to put people first and reconsider that instead of being co-opted as parking lots for rarely used cars, they could be thriving centers of city life.
Each layer is created by days and years, people and movements, politics and community bumping and flowing into and through each other like jazz notes – the city is built in moments, it develops, matures, ages, becomes derelict and is reborn in some small way everyday, through the air, through the streets, through the city-zens.
Aminah Ricks, 2017, Nolita NYC
Photo Credit: Aminah Ricks
Along Sixth Avenue, buildings line the street, of varying heights and colors.
The city as living organism, reflects the people who live within; tall or short, new and old, eclectic or classic, standing together to create the mosaic of our communities.
Cityscape reflects life.
See more at Emerging City’s Instagram
Cover Photography: Aminah Ricks