Back on the streets

  • Posted on: 11 February 2019
  • By: Katia De Gennaro
S. Vigilio kids present their suggestions on how to make their neighbourhood more attractive to children

Usually Metamorphosis is about streets and traffic – two major sources of danger for kids. Not so in the S. Vigilio neighbourhood in Merano, were the local Metamorphosis team is taking action to enhance neighbourhood life and social relations among children.

S. Vigilio has no traffic issue. Private motorized transport is essentially limited to residents’ mobility. The dead-end location of the neighbourhood provides extremely light traffic but also – and that’s the issue here - isolation. Were Merano not a small province town, we could call S. Vigilio a dormitory community. During the day, streets and other public spaces are empty. Although there are plenty of green areas and 3 playgrounds, only few kids linger outside. There is not a single store in the whole neighbourhood. The only meeting points are a small bar and a function room run by the educational agency Upad that recently increased its engagement in the neighbourhood with the aim of promoting community life.

Metamorphosis chose to join Upad in this undertaking. Our starting point was a vision building workshop with resident kids. What are their dreams in matters of public space? What is missing in the neighbourhood? Through simulation games, discussion and walking tours to the most important spots, we got the children’s answers.  Among the wishes that emerged from the workshop were a stage for public events, a climbing frame and a place were to exchange toys and buy snacks or small things like pencils and notebooks. The kids built models of their suggestions and presented them in a public event attended by municipality officials.

Very soon phase 2 of our S. Vigilio intervention will take place: in the course of another workshop scheduled in spring, the kids will build multi-purpose handcarts that will serve as counters or platforms for second hand markets, street cuisine events and street art shows. Our goal: encouraging kids to stay outside, play and have fun together.