The Municipality of Barcelona has already promoted diverse projects related to children in the urban environment. Now, with the project “Protegim les Escoles” (Let’s Protect the Schools), the goal is to tackle the safety of the school’s surroundings and to decrease the proven negative effects of pollution (acoustic and atmospheric) in children’s development. Thus, the Barcelona municipality has set this project as a high-priority strategy to provide Barcelona schools with safe, comfortable, and healthy public spaces that act as meeting places for children, their families, and neighbours.
In line with this, FURNISH emerges as an opportunity to help in this pacification but goes beyond. The project objective is to provide interesting and instigating interactive prototypes to stimulate permanence in these areas. These places have the potential to work as transitional spaces, connecting the urban and school environments in a creative way, promoting longer stays before and after school hours, and enabling its use as extensions of classrooms and playgrounds, engaging children to play, be active and learn. Besides the direct benefits for children, these spaces also can create community networks between parents and people that live nearby, promoting social interaction in all age groups.
Apart from that, FURNISH seeks to involve the communities throughout the creation process in a process of open design, so that these prototypes are not only designed for the community but created by them, which leads to the prioritization of the aspects that they think are more relevant. This will be achieved by a sequence of open collaboration workshops developed by the partners together with local communities.
The Mobile Urban Elements (MUEs) have been placed in two sites in front of schools. In both situations, the main goal of the project is to increase safety and to promote new urban spaces, creating possibilities for school activities to expand to the outdoor public environment.
The first one is placed in Entença school in the district of Eixample. This school has 20 teachers and 275 pupils, of which 150 are from 3 to 6 years old, and 125 from 6 to 9. This school is located next to the main street, which suffers from several issues such as noise and air pollution, and unsafety by the high speed of the vehicles. The project in Entença school seeks to adequate the entrance to the school through the ancient wall of the old Model Prison and it promotes the installation of new and safe wood elements in front of the school.
The second one is at Antoni Brusí school, in the district of Sant Martí. This school has 30 teachers and 469 pupils, of which 168 are from 3 to 6 years old, and 301 are from 6 to 12 years old. This school is also located next to the main street, with the same issues as the previous one. The area of intervention is in the pacified street. The project in Antoní Brusí school aims to incorporate a new set of playful elements in front of the school on the pacified street made by natural earth.
This project has been financed by EIT Community New European Bauhaus.