Thinking about, Involving,
and Developing the City:
Issue-based Area Activities

Children's Community Development Experience through Public-Private Partnership

  • Thinking about the city

    Higashiyamato City in Tokyo is surrounded by Lake Tama and the Sayama Hills. We organized a hands-on activity to think about the city with the participation of local elementary school students. It was a part of the "Children's Smile Movement" initiative promoted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and conducted in collaboration with Higashiyamato City, targeting children and the parenting generation. It was a two-part initiative, first to listen to the children's voices and then to conduct hands-on activities based on them. First, we listened to the children's voices under the theme "Let's think about the city!" After briefly studying the city, we spread out a large map of the entire city on the floor and asked the children to draw pictures and write comments about their thoughts on the city, its issues, and its future.

City conceived from children's perspective

Children presented many unique ideas, for example, what kind of buildings or places should be created in the future. It was surprising to see ideas and issues from diverse perspectives, such as culture, transportation, nature, leisure, communication, crime prevention, etc.

  • Bench-making based on
    children's ideas

    The children made the following suggestions: "I want to make this city a place where people can feel more relaxed" and "I want to make this city a place where people can be good friends." Is it possible to give form to these ideas in the city? Is there anything we can do to embody our ideas in the city? Based on the children's ideas, we decided to make benches as a community development experience.

  • Wooden benches
    made of Tama timber

    The children were divided into six groups and made their original benches by assembling pieces of Tama timber painted in various colors. The benches were made simply by joining the 90x90 square timbers using long bolts through orthogonal members. The children assembled them by hand. The final step was to insert a piece of reclaimed wood on which the children had painted pictures.

  • Benches proudly representing the "City Where People Can Be Good Friends"

    We immediately installed the six benches in the square. The children formulated their ideas for the project. We hope this hands-on experience of solving issues and enriching the city through their efforts will nurture their creativity and lead to a creative future city.