For a Better Neighbourhood is a project that was developed with the 3rd year class at Escola Básica da Galiza (São João do Estoril) and the mediator of the ludolibrary Salomé Duarte.
During the academic year, we worked on sessions and activities related to orientation, geographic and emotional mapping of the school and its surroundings, public spaces, and possible interventions. After identifying Largo do Chafariz (located between the school and ATL) as an area of possible intervention, the class carried out interviews with the community about needs and desires for a co-design of the square, with the creation of models up to a 1:1 scale.
Mapping the school
We worked on children’s sense of orientation, the ability to read a map and localize themselves on it. They also mapped remarkable places of everyday life or memories about specific facts or events that happened within the school fence.
Mapping from school to the outside: reference points
Walking around the school fence, we marked reference points and drew them on the map as a way to orient ourselves in the neighborhood (“the red house”, the recycling bin, or “Dona Ana’s house”).
Mapping the neighborhood: the public space around us
Walking around the neighborhood we mapped places where kids go, from “the tanks”, to the school’s soccer field, the ATL and Largo do Chafariz.
About other public spaces
We showed other references to public spaces in Portugal and other countries and we opened the discussion up: “What is a public space? What does public mean? Who does it belong to? What does it do?”. After that Largo do Chafariz was identified as an interesting place to look for answers.
Interviews with the local community
Kids interviewed some residents, passers-by, and workers from local businesses (cafe, butcher, restaurant, hairdresser, etc.) about Largo do Chafariz to learn more about past memories and uses (How was it in the “old days”? How do you use it today?)
And what about Our Largo do Chafariz?
Several activities were developed, aiming at the re-design of the space with the wishes of the children and the community interviewed. Together we established priorities and explained the impossibilities of some proposals (“Why can’t we build a swimming pool in Largo?”). They created models in different scales and materials to visualize the ideas and explain them.
Occupy public space with 1:1 models
The project proposals and ideas were presented to the local community, parents and passers-by in an afternoon of games and party in Largo do Chafariz. Benches, huts, slides, and many other ideas were built on full-scale cardboard.
For a Better Neighbourhood is a project by the Bairro da Galiza school group, developed through the Câmara de Cascais Reinvent Your Neighborhood Program in partnership with the Junta de freguesia de Cascais-Estoril.
Promoters: Reivente o Seu Bairro Program – Câmara de Cascais
Partner: Escola Básica da Galiza, Junta de Freguesia de Cascais-Estoril
With: Monica Di Eugenio, Salomé Duarte, Leonor, Duarte, Alexandre, Bárbara, Sara, Francisco, Hugo, Jorge, João Pedro, Lourenço, Vainema, Mário, Bruna, Rodrigo, Enzo, Eva, Jaiden, Micaela