Reclaiming front garden zones for young children in Antwerp and Mechelen

Garden zones in front of houses can be places for young children to play and meet, combining the proximity, protection and intimacy of the private home with access to the public life of the street, neighbourhood and city. However, these zones have often been neglected by designers, becoming sterile and unused.

This project will look at how these zones can be reclaimed by and for young children. It will involve young children, communities and professionals in experiments in two different social contexts in Antwerp and Mechelen, to develop guidelines with and for planners, designers and policy makers.

Update on the project

Update, August 2018: Two project locations have been chosen after a call for applications, in the cities of Leuven (rather than Antwerp) and Mechelen, where a sufficiently numerous group of parents are enthusiastic about the idea. Initial workshops have been held, and project participants are now exploring ways to open up their front gardens for local children to play together. The project has attracted the attention of local media – for example and De Standaard.