City of Helsingborg
City of Helsingborg
As we all know, children have opinions on everything. But are we really listening? And do they have real opportunities to influence life in the city? The right to be heard is a child rights principle defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the City of Helsingborg is exploring new approaches to champion children as rights holders and individuals.
A work group involving five city departments is using different perspectives to get to the heart of the matter. And the goal is to create inviting environments to encourage, engage with, and channel the opinions of children and young people. The plan is for a Children’s Meeting Place in Helsingborg – a concept with a history.
With roots in Helsingborg, the organisation Globetree established the original Children’s Meeting Place by a large and beautiful acacia tree at the United Nations grounds in Nairobi in 2001. A place for voicing dreams, concerns, and suggestions for the future. In 2020, architects and landscapers from the City of Helsingborg and Kenya presented a proposal to further develop the site, inspired by children and young people from thirty nations. The inauguration will take place on World Environment Day, 5 June 2022, when United Nations Environment (UNEP) celebrates fifty years.
A Children’s Meeting Place in Helsingborg will be a place for children and decision makers to meet, and the tree at its centre will be a symbol that unites the local and the global. It will be a safe haven for discussing what’s important for children and young people, and how their opinions can form the foundation for a more thoughtful, sustainable, and hopeful city.
In the spirit of the concept, the city has invited children and schools around Helsingborg to be involved in the process from the very start. Fundamental questions have guided the process: How do children know they’re allowed to have opinions? How do they want to express them? And how can these reach the ears of decision makers in an ongoing conversation?
The children’s input is already injecting new ideas into the project, from interesting names and locations to the idea of having several meeting places connecting city districts. Whatever form a Children’s Meeting Place takes in Helsingborg, it will symbolise true democracy and a shared desire to listen and be heard.
Find out more about Globetree, an organisation which grew from an eight-year-old girl asking: “Do you believe we have a future?”. And discover the other ways that Helsingborg is engaging children in developing their city here.
This project is a joint initiative by the Environment Department, Education and Recreation Department, City Planning Department, Culture Department, and City Executive Department.
“The built environment in a city should reflect the ambitions and dreams we have as a society. And the design of public spaces needs to create opportunities and hope – for new meetings, new experiences, and for growing together. And if we are going to succeed in making this come true, we have to start together with the children and use our knowledge from all the departments in the city.”
– Pamela Sjöstrand, Landscape Architect, City of Helsingborg