Looking Ahead and Focusing on Outcomes




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Mar 22, 2017
by Oscar Tollast
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Looking Ahead and Focusing on Outcomes

Fellows consider what children need from green spaces and how greater access can be provided Participants from The Child in the City came up with many suggestions as to what they felt children needed from green spaces [Photo: Ela Grieshaber]

There are multiple paths the conversations surrounding parks, protected areas, cities and children can be taken. Participants at Child in the City: Health, Parks, and Play have been asked to consider several questions to guide their thinking as they look to push forward a new change agenda.

The aim is for this agenda to take a form, something tangible which can be shared. To get closer to this goal, participants have asked themselves what children need from green spaces and parks, and how to improve access to these areas.

Participants have asked themselves why they want to connect children with nature in cities. It stems from concerns about children’s health to wanting to include the voice of a child in the decision-making process. Children can help create a culture where they can be and feel a part of nature, acting as “stewards.”

To provide a stronger connection, participants believe we need to address children’s perception of safety and ensure there are cross-generational solutions. Existing infrastructure can be used to address issues with nature-based solutions.

One working group suggested all children around the world are in a situation where their access to nature is at an impoverished level. Wilderness experiences could provide a good solution, but these aren’t practical for everyone.

Instead, children could innovate the green spaces they do have access to. Disused pieces of land, such as power line corridors, could be turned into green spaces. Funds could be provided by the power line companies to transform them.

Transportation is a barrier to getting people to a park, and into it. Access is a financial issue, as well as a geographical issue. One solution is to promote free travel to a national park on a select day each month.

Children have a right to play in nature.Community engagement and co-creation can develop solutions. Basic experiences such as Open Streets or “grow anything” concepts could get people hooked. Cities could also be measured with regard to their nature score, benchmarking themselves against each other.

Participants called for children to connect to a “meaningful” nature experience on a daily basis. Outside actors have to address the different needs, and abilities children have.

Awareness must be raised among caregivers, and more should be done so children can have a nature-rich experience in a walkable distance. Low-cost transport to nature could exist through partnerships. There can be a greater shared use of existing spaces for the wider community as well.

During this session, participants have shared many thoughtful ideas but the time has come to present them in a succinct, crisp, and memorable fashion.

They will consider which audience they want to put their message across to and whether they need a preamble which reaches out to more than one stakeholder. One participant concluded a compelling and emotive case is required.

The Salzburg Global program The Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play is part of the multi-year Parks for the Planet Forum, a series held in partnership with the IUCN and Huffington Foundation. The session is being supported by Parks Canada and Korea National Park. It is being sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/574 - You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSparks