Camilla Bramer , pp. 102. DSN/School of Planning and Media Design, 2011.
This thesis is focused on the perspectives on children held by urban planners in Beijing from an explorative approach. The aim is to investigate how planners in Beijing are considering children and the children’s perspective in the urban planning processes.
My research is based on interviews with planners in Beijing and literature studies to achieve an understanding for what type of perspective on children that dominates among planners in Beijing. In addition to this, the environmental situation for children in Beijing has been researched through literature studies and observations, to enhance an understanding for children’s role in the Chinese society and Beijing’s urban environments. The interviews were performed in Beijing during the autumn of 2010 among six people involved in urban planning processes. The observations were performed in Beijing during the same time, predominantly in parks and hutong areas of Beijing.
This report is based on the theoretical approaches of The child and urban environments, The urban planners and the perspective on children and The cultural, historical and contemporary context of China. The theoretical approaches are used in the analyses focused on the themes of Children in the urban public space in Beijing and The perspective on children among urban planners in Beijing.
The result shows that the perspective on children among planners in Beijing today correspond to the perspective on children dominating urban planning processes in Europe during the 1960’s and 1970’s. These perspectives mean that in Beijing, children are not seen or used as active stakeholders in urban planning processes and the adult perspective on children is dominated by prioritizing children’s needs rather than their views and thoughts on their ambient environments. This derives from that in Beijing no sort of citizen participation is common. Therefore, neither are children asked to have their say during planning processes. Planning without citizen participation and with the main focus on the “expert planner” was the situation in many western countries in the 60’s and 70’s. This gives that the perspective on children among planners in Beijing today to some extent corresponds to the perspective among planners in Europe in past times. Today Beijing is undergoing radical urban changes due to of the rapid economical growth of China. This gives, that it is not only the political climate that affects the use of citizen participation, but also that private investors and their interest is dominating in the development processes.