How does the city of Antwerp make their playspacewebs visible in the streets? DRAFT BLOG

A playspaceweb (‘speelweefsel’) is a network of child-friendly routes in a neighbourhood that have been made safer and more pleasant.

One example of this is when children are invited to move actively and more independently to places such as the school, a playground or their youth organisation.

A good playspaceweb stimulates children to move more and play outside. Since 2016, playwebplans have been drawn up in 14 neighbourhoods in the Belgian city of Antwerp. With the participation of children, the desired playspaceweb was mapped out, writes Wim Seghers, an expert in ‘playspace’ policy for the city of Antwerp.

An important part of making the routes in a playweb more pleasant are play features (‘speelaanleidingen’). Play features are not playground equipment, but informal play stimuli that children encounter on their way to, for example, a sports field or the local shop. A play feature can take many forms: for example, it is a water element, a stepping stone that you can jump on, a tree trunk where you can walk over or a line to follow.

A play feature ensures that children are unconsciously stimulated to move more and the road to the park or another destination suddenly no longer seems so long. Because you stay in this place for a while, there is also a great chance of a spontaneous meeting! Play features make children play outside more, but that is also contagious for adults. In this way, they themselves come more on the street, they make social contacts with local residents, they adjust their traffic behavior. The neighbourhood thus becomes a much more pleasant place to live for young and old. #880cities

For more than 10 years Wim Seghers has been working for the City of Antwerp. He is an expert on play and space policy. He guides 9 districts within the city on their play space policy and has advised dozens of designs of playgrounds and guided more than 10 playspaceweb-plans. Wim is one of our keynote speakers at the Child in the City International Seminar: Children in a sustainable city. Register today and learn and exchange ideas with Wim and our other keynote speakers. See you in Antwerp, 20-21 May 2019.

Author: Simon Weedy

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