Young Planning Professionals’ Workshop
NINGBO, CHINA, 26-30 August 2019
Children-friendly Urban Planning
ISOCARP is proud to announce its first Young Planning Professionals’ workshop (YPP) that was conducted with children in Ningbo, China, between 26 and 30 August 2019. The YPP Program is a crucial component of ISOCARP’s dedication to promote and enhance the planning profession and commitment to facilitate knowledge for better cities with the young generations. The programme has been leading for over two decades to provide young planning professionals an opportunity to work in a multi-cultural setting, share their experiences on real-life planning problems, and exchange ideas and learn from each other as well as from senior colleagues. The Ningbo YPP workshop is organised in collaboration with the United National International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the China Urban Planning Society (UPSC), and undertaken by Ningbo Bureau of Nature Resources and Planning (NBNRP), the Ningbo Urban Planning & Design Institute (NBPI) and the ISOCARP Institute, Centre for Urban Excellence.
The theme of the Ningbo YPP workshop is ‘Child-friendly Urban Planning’. Since 2018, ISOCARP has cooperated with UNICEF to promote the process of child-friendly urbanization, aiming at drawing attention to the needs of children in urban planning and enabling children worldwide to have a healthy, safe, inclusive and green life in vibrant, fair and friendly cities. These efforts also help to complete the agenda proposed by the United Nations Development Programme: ‘Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. As starting point and planning reference, the workshop considers UNICEF’s publication ‘Shaping Urbanization for Children: Handbook on child-friendly urban planning’ (Free download).
Why child-friendly urban planning?
Ningbo, as one of the representatives of livable cities along the Southeast coast, has been awarded ‘China’s Most Happy City’ nine times by 2018. It has reached a high level of economic strength, with a city image of environment of development and people’s livelihood security. In the long run, to reach further improvement in the livability of the city and residents‘ sense of happiness, the promotion and development of a child-friendly city is an important part of Ningbo’s future urban vision. Child-friendly cities not only can effectively improve children’s quality of life in cities, support the most disadvantaged children in having access to basic services and a safe, clean environment, but they also attract all generations. In this perspective, promoting a child-friendly Ningbo definitively means promoting an innovative and inclusive city for all.
Case study area, Mingdong Community, was built in 1996, and is precisely located in the north of Mingan Road, west of Zhongxing road, south of Tongtu road and east of Zhaohui Road. There are 56 residential buildings, 170 households and 550 residents in this community. Zhaohui Experimental Primary School is located in the northeast corner of the community, which is the largest primary school for children of migrant workers in the city as well as a cultural centre and civic school in the community. Minglou Park, covering an area of 6830 square metres, is the cultural square of the community. The total site covers 17.59 hectare and the structural area has 120000 square metres. The area and its surrounding include also other services, such as Zhaohui Experimental Primary School, Tianlun time shopping mall, Tianlun Art park, Jialefu Supermarket, Shuguang middle school, a sport centre and other facilities, bringing huge convenience to the community.
The main reason why Mingdong has been selected as case study area of the workshop lies on the strong presence of children of low- and middle-income families, as well as of migrant workers inside the community. Despite the presence of facilities for children in the neighbourhood, there is an urgency to care of their needs and improve the quality of their daily practices inside the community. In addition, two other elements make the case study area more challenging and relevant: on one side, the community itself has already developed a transformation plan, which will be taken into account in the design phase of the workshop; on the other side, Mingdong presents features that make it a typical and representative neighbourhood of Ningbo, increasing the interest about which kind of child-friendly planning solutions could be adopted inside the city.
A team from 6 to 60 where innocence and experience meets
ISOCARP Experts Ali A. Alraouf, Jens Aerts (International Consultant of UNICEF), Divya Chopra and Local Coordinators SHAYUNG Fan and JING Xie contributed extensively to share their valuable expertise and knowledge. The outstanding teams of preparation, assistance, Zhang Nenggong, Chen Rong, Hu Xubiao, Zhu Liming, Luo Ming, Hu Lixian, Xue Hui, Yu Yuan, Mao Gubo, Qiu Ping, Chen Xun, and particularly Ni Mindong and Yuxiao Xu together with our volunteers from university to high school students Jiang Qinqing, Zhou Min, Yan Ziyi, Zheng Yi, Chen Xiner and and especially the Mindong Community, all the residents, parents and children, Guo Lihui, Peng Jianhua, Liu Kaili shared their incredible commitment, excitement, success and hospitality in delivering the programme.
The workshop brought together 18 young planning proffessionals (6 of whom were internationals) together with 15 children in the age between 6 to 12 from Yinzhou No.2 Experimental Primary School, Songzhaoqiao Primary School, Ningbo Shuguang Middle School and Xingzhi Experimental Primary School. The international YPPs who were selected by an International ISOCARP Jury are Viviana Cordero (Equador), Iva Shokoska (Macedonia), Aya Elkhouly (Egypt), Chris Steenhuis (Netherlands), Nhat Ninh Khanh Nguyen (Vietnam) and Prasenijt Shukla (India).
With its unique theme and setting in Mindong Community, -and by a team from 6 to 60 where innocence and experience meets – the YPP workshop introduced an important first step to inspire urbanism for children and shape knowledge for children: A laboratory and at the same time a competing ground towards a challenging path of inspiring a child-friendly Mindong Community. And a narrative that was built upon 3 questions integrating sustainable urban development and child’s rights: How is the city perceived and lived by the youngest generation? How to envision Mindong as a child friendly community? How to take action?
Home for Children – Home for Action
The result is diverse explorations on the idea of “Children’s Home”: From a vision of “CREATING PLACES PEOPLE LOVE A PLACE FOR ALL” where CHILDREN’S HOME IS MINGDONG COMMUNITY. To the “RIBBONS OF MINGDONG”, and reminds us that Play is not limited to a playground. Play is everywhere! From An offer to “AN URBAN HOME” – Inviting us to their living rooms full of love, lots of fun, plenty of participation. To the “(A)MAZED” – which takes us to A TIME TRAVEL FROM MAZED TO AMAZED where MINDONG AN AMAZING PLACE.
The four days of the workshop were spent on intense studio work under 4 teams, site visits guided by Mindong Community, workshops with children and parents as well as representatives of Mindong Community, and Lunchbox Seminars with the contribution of our YPPs (Chris Steenhuis “Child-friendly Urban Design and Mix& Match-Tools to Design Urban Play” and Viviana Cordero “The City at Eye Level, Huasipichanga experience” – Thank you for your inspiring projects!). Our YPPs also published a Newsletter “Amazing Newsletter” in guiding Minding to build a child-friendly community (by Iva Shokoska, Viviana Cordero, Yiwen Jin, Chenhong Xia, Kejun Shao). Documentaries were especially encouraged as to provide alternative mediums of expression (Check out). In the last day, the teams presented the workshop results and the workshop was finalised with Certificate Ceremony, YPP Exhibition and Award Ceremony. ‘The Ribbons of Mindong’ Project was awarded with “Best Team” in Children’s Home Competition. The results of the workshop were once again presented during the 55th ISOCARP World Planning Congress in a special session.
The children of Mindong, thank you! You have turned our workspace into a living, breathing and “playful” public space and left an inspiring impact on our professional and personal lives. Thank you!