Kids’ perspectives set agenda

Chronicle by Catharina Brandén

HELSINGBORG, SWEDEN I stroll along the shore of the Råå levels. I hear the seagulls crying and feel the wind tugging at my hair. I have the urge to stretch out my arms and run. Maybe, just maybe, if I close my eyes I can fly. It’s always there, the playfulness. And there it lies, further down the beach, nestling among the sand dunes. Like a silvering dinosaur, or a cross between a sandcastle and an old fishing hut. Here, right on the shore, lies Råå Preschool. A place that encourages imagination and play, a place of harmony and calm, a place where the children’s perspectives have set the agenda.

The City of Helsingborg has a vision. By 2035, we shall be the creative city, the vibrant city, the united city, the global city and the balanced city. In line with this vision, in early 2016 Helsingborg adopted a quality of life programme as one of two overarching strategic policy documents.

The quality of life programme connects the city’s work with the environment and public health. It puts people squarely in the centre and focuses on improving the conditions that we humans need for our well-being. Also deeply rooted in the work on quality of life is the long-term interests of our shared sustainable development.

For us as property owners, the quality of life programme and Vision 2035 mean we have to think about values other than the traditional hard construction values, when we development and redevelop property. We basically have to rethink and innovate, taking the conditions for quality of life as our starting point, in order to create a clear connection with the sustainable development of society.

Helsingborg’s work is to be at the cutting edge. We aim to set the standard when it comes to the issues surrounding quality of life. The point of departure for our work is that the conditions for quality of life are created by making people aware of and responsible for our common challenges. The work on quality of life helps to create a balance between different needs, with everything working in concert to ensure that we feel good here and now, and survive on our planet in the long term.

Showing particular concern for our children’s environment is an important part of our work. The children are our future and they will be the ones to build on the foundations we lay down in our quality of life work. Råå Preschool demonstrates how this consideration can take shape in a new building. A building that we chose to build entirely in wood.

Footnote: Catharina Brandén of the real estate department, City of Helsingborg, architect Dorte Mandrup and construction company PEAB received the Swedish Timber Prize 2016 for Råå Preschool.

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