Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Making a Mark

The line between public and private space can sometimes be a blurry one for an adult, so as a child it's potentially even more difficult to negotiate. The Shop of Possibilities exists physically within public space, the Shop unit itself is easily defined as our space. But what about the area around it? 

We are in the middle of a housing estate, the pavements and green spaces on our doorstep belong to everyone on the estate which has the potential to get a little complicated. The children regularly spill out onto these spaces forcing passers by to weave around their play as they walk past. They sometimes temporarily affect the spaces they play in, such as the chalk drawings on the pavements as seen in the images in this post.

But when is the line crossed? Who has the right to affect these public spaces and who doesn't? Would growing up with a sense of ownership over these shared spaces lead to people taking a more active interest in them as they get older? Would this stronger sense of 'entitlement' to public space lead to positive or negative outcomes? What happens to these spaces if no one uses them?

For now we actively encourage the children to use the wide range of spaces around the Shop to play, as in my opinion they don't get used nearly enough, and yet they are perfect spaces for kids to play. So when the children are with us, if we can help them feel entitled to use these public spaces then that's great and hopefully they'll continue to take up space and use them when we are not around. If adults aren't claiming the space then the children really should!

The chalk on the pavement will eventually wash away, but just for a little while the kids have made that space part of their play space.

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