Children of the City

Open City and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris come together to encourage young minds to explore the needs of their local community.

Children are fascinated by the outdoor environment. Yet many children living in built up centres do not have gardens or any direct access to outdoor spaces. Open City asked children from Manorfield Primary school in Tower Hamlets to reimagine and realise a pocket of their neighbourhood where people can meet, learn, socialise, communicate and relax.

The children explored the area, drawing maps of existing features such as mounds, trees, pathways and surrounding buildings.  They then adapted their initial sketches, developing their designs for their new and imagined space.

They wanted to ensure that there were sensory areas for the elderly where plants of various kinds stimulated the senses, however their plans were mainly dominated with a need to create an exciting play space which children of all ages could come together and explore.

As the theme of the project was sustainability, only recycled and reused items were used to construct the models. Children were split into small groups of three where they had to interpret the design and decide as a group on the appropriate materials to use for their models construction.

All of the shared models were brought together into one classroom where the children helped to create a large scale ‘Shared City’. This allowed the children opportunity to admire and study one another’s work and, also see what their shared city environment looked like on a large scale.