Image by Catalytic Action
The four "Inclusive Parks" interventions share the overall aim of promoting inclusive public spaces for children in vulnerable locations in Lebanon.
Inclusive public spaces in Lebanon are scarce and often not considered a priority in the plans of local municipalities, but they are spaces that are accessible by everyone, including women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Vulnerable groups such as children with disabilities greatly benefit from using accessible and inclusive public spaces where they have the opportunity to play with their parents and friends. In Lebanon, these spaces would represent a physical place for equality in a country where social segregation and tension are strongly present. All interventions share the same design objective of creating spaces that allow children, with or without disabilities, to come together and play. The spaces are also designed to allow different age groups to play simultaneously. Spaces for parents (e.g. shaded seating areas) were also allocated as this was identified as an important element that would allow both parents and children to use these public spaces.
Location Arsal, Hermel, Barja and Qaraoun, Lebanon
Organisation Catalytic Action Charity
Partner organisations UNICEF Terre des Hommes Italia (TDH) Amel Association International (Amel). Scale of catchment Neighbourhood
Built environment component Public space, Parks
Beneficiary Children all ages, Caregivers
INTERVENTION DESIGN LEARNINGS
(1) A ‘playful ramp’ offers a play experience for all children, while at the same time allowing people with disabilities to access the upper level of the existing public space. (2) The park has been equipped with an accessible toilet, which was built by transforming the existing non-accessible facilities into fully accessible ones.
(1)’Playful stations’ offer different play experiences such as active play, imaginative play and sensory play, through mimicking the local landscape. (2) Playground components painted yellow to create contrast with the green of the grass, trees and plants.(3) A sea view was an important element that greatly shaped the design. An accessible ramp leads to a raised platform that offers a clear and peaceful view as a connection to the sea.
The project aims to practically demonstrate that inclusive spaces can be constructed with local materials and skills, hence also benefiting the local economy in the process.
Participatory design activities were conducted engaging people from different nationalities, genders and age groups (children, youth and parents) and people with disabilities.
Existing public parks were chosen as the ideal location for this intervention, as the parks were already used by families and known within the local communities as a space for community activities and leisure.
Implementation learnings/Things to consider
Intervening existing spaces gives added value to the projects, as the existing social dynamics can be enhanced through the implementation of inclusive spaces.