The project sought to upgrade the streets in the neighbourhood of Karantina, both around the Beirut Governmental Hospital, the National HIV and TB Centre and the Karantina Public Park. An area that bustles with cars, this project focussed on making Karantina’s streets more pedestrian and child friendly by improving the infrastructure in the neighbourhood.
We conducted a range of participatory activities and interviews with children, young people and caregivers. For the children and younger residents involved in these workshops, we encouraged them to view themselves as architects. Exploring the site with our team members, they reflected on what they liked, disliked and thought could be improved around the site.
We used participatory tools such as: Let’s be architects, photovoice and participatory mapping. Their ideas included adding seating areas, lights, play items, speed bumps, shading and greenery. They brought a range of ideas and there was a vibrant debate about where each of these items should be placed and what should be prioritised.
In addition to these workshops, we also conducted informal interviews with regular users of the area including caregivers, business owners and military officers. A common theme they alluded to was the need to slow down cars to ensure children’s safety, the need for adequate seating so the space is suitable for stopping, and the importance of colour and greenery for making the streets appealing.
These workshops and interviews were complemented using observational methods carried out by our team to assess how the area is used both by vehicles and pedestrians.
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