Rewind on imagining future cities through drama and design

  • YEAR
    Wake, Susan J.
    2020 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Design Thinking and Innovation


It is asserted that people in first world countries have become consumed by ‘things’ and ‘wants’, rather than ‘needs.’ This mindset has been challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic, as we have experienced a reduced existence from ‘normal’, without travel, shopping malls, restaurants/cafes, sport, social gatherings, libraries, pools and, especially for children, playgrounds. These ‘things’ have turned out to be ‘non-essential’ as people’s safety is prioritized, which has led to some creative alternatives for play and amusement.

As we emerge into a post-Covid-19 alert level world, this paper proposes that we need to reconsider what children ‘need’ from their city, given that many public amenities were recently off-limits, as unsafe. It does this by re-visiting a recent design project that focused on using children’s imagined ideas for improving future Auckland, generated through drama. Following a description of the performance- art project, which involved local schoolchildren, and an outline of the data collection process, the paper re-evaluates the data and its interpretation into design moves, that were done by a Masters student.
Critiquing a previous project, in light of new information, highlights the importance of designing with flexibility and ‘use affordance’ when creating enduring and sustainable public spaces that capture the imagination of children.

Keywords: children’s participation, city design, drama in education, imagination


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