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SIHUB/2018/Hau Ngo

Urban planning for children in Ho Chi Minh City 

Last summer 275 children from 8 to 14 years joined a summer programme that introduced them to urban planning in Ho Chi Minh City. The children designed and planned smarter and more child-friendly areas in the south Vietnamese city. 

The programme, ‘Children innovate: A smart and Child-friendly City’ was initiated by UNICEF’S collaboration with the Saigon Innovation Hub and HCMC Department of Architecture and Planning. This is part of Ho Chi Minh City’s Child Friendly City Initiative Project (2017-2021).“Creative education is the very long-term foundation for the future Vietnamese generations to integrate into the world”, said Mr. Huynh Kim Tuoc, Co-founder & CEO of Saigon Innovation Hub.

There were 11 creative thinking workshops held over the summer and vulnerable and disadvantaged children also participated in the programme. Participants learnt design principles, design thinking, architecture, urban planning with hands-on activities and project team works. They were given a range of materials like clay, wood but also technical devices such as computers, Sketchup and Hololens.

Each of the workshops went on for five days, starting at 9 am and ending at 4 pm. During which participants worked on three hands-on projects during each day. The five days were broken up as follows:

Day 1: City planning principles, maps, scale, design principles
Day 2: Parks, traffic and public spaces, playground design
Day 3: Buildings and Landmarks, landmark design
Day 4: Services, smart city, computer related activities, photo editing
Day 5: Team work, preparation of exhibition and presentation, exhibition and presentation of results

All this culminated in a week-long exhibition at the Saigon Innovation Week. Where the children were given a platform to share their ideas and projects with urban planning experts, decision makers and the public.

Marianne Oehlers, Chief of Programme Partnerships Office UNICEF Vietnam said: “Almost everywhere in the world, the design process is undertaken by adults, while the end- users are often children, such is the case in parks, public areas and schools. Children Innovate: Smart and Child Friendly Cities creates an environment for children to express their opinions and influence decisions that affect them, so that a safe, secure and clean environment, taking into account children’s perspectives, may be provided by urban planning experts and decision-makers.”
Feature image by: SIHUB/2018/Hau Ngo.

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist. She is also the Community Manager and Events Manager of Child in the City.

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