Proximity of Care

IPoP – Institute for Spatial Policies was invited to explore the application of their design guide for child and family-friendly design in practice.  Toddlers, i.e. children between the ages of 12 and 36 months, are recognised as a particularly important group, because in the second and third year of life they achieve a very large cognitive, emotional and social development, which is highly dependent on how well the surroundings take care for them and their caregivers. The handbook was originally developed by ARUP and the Bernard Van Leer Foundation focusing on vulnerable urban contexts, and then decided to further expand its applicability in cooperation with like-minded partners around the world.

In the invitation IPoP recognised an opportunity to develop and strengthen its efforts to involve children in spatial planning and to consider the needs of children and their caregivers in spatial planning. For this purpose, IPoP also connected with friends from the cultural and environmental association Pazi!park and with the support of professor Dr. Ana Kučan, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture of the Biotechnical Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, successfully submitted an application for participation in April. During the summer months, there will be a process of proactive training based on a selected domestic case under the mentorship of the organizers, followed by the creation of a design proposal, which, if convincing, will receive financial support for implementation in the fall.

The aim of the participation of ten organizations from different parts of the world is to through the training process carried out by representatives of ARUP and the Bernard Van Leer Foundation become aware of the importance of the quality of the living environment, open spaces and spaces in buildings, for the development and life of children and their caregivers. It is also a good opportunity to familiarize themselves with the contents of the handbook and check the analytical methods and approaches in their own environment and thus learn to best understand the needs of toddlers and their guardians, families and individuals with young children in their cultural and urban environment while also contributing to the improvement and development contents of the handbook.

The handbook conceptually looks at the supportive environment for the development and life of toddlers and their caregivers through 4 dimensions: health, safety, stimulation and support, and encourages a four-part treatment at the level of the individual household, neighborhood and even the city.

In Slovenia, which is part of developed Europe and traditionally has a history of systematic professional care for children and families, the task represents a very special challenge. By choosing a problem through a guided analysis and planning process, the IPoP and Pazi!park team will, in dialogue with other participating teams under the mentorship of the organizers, look for specific challenges arising from our society and environment and will try to prepare sufficiently convincing proposals for solutions in order to gain the implementation support from organizers.


Project duration: 06/2022 – 10/2022


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