They are far from Robert Doisneau’s clichés about children playing carefree on the streets, walking on the sidewalk on their hands, looking for bread as adults. In recent decades, the street for parents has become the place of all dangers. So much so that everywhere in Europe, the autonomy of children’s movements has declined significantly since the late 1990s.
It is in the light of this observation that a collective of associations (the National Association of Children and Young People’s Councils, Cafézoïde, Future Street and Vivacité Île-de-France) decided in 2015 to disseminate, support and accompany initiatives for “Streets for children “, especially in working-class neighborhoods. These events, inspired by the play streets that have developed in New York and the United Kingdom, aim to allow children to play in the temporarily closed street in full safety.
This Sunday, for the first time, Bagneux closes part of one of its main axes to traffic to organize a “street for children, street for all”. “Two years ago we won the call for projects from the national collective” Rue aux enfants, rue pour tous “, it is a kind of brand that requires very precise specifications with the organization of entertainment and games for children in a street that is usually open to traffic; it was postponed because of Covid, ”explains Estelle Garçon of the Collective of Alternative and Citizen Resources (CRAC) in Bagneux.
150 “streets for children” created in France
Thus, avenue Henri Barbusse (between 10 and the Madeleine pharmacy) from kl. 10.30 to 18.00 be closed to motor vehicles to allow the youngest to discover their surroundings, the street, in full safety and in peace. the public space in a fun and festive way. Many associations of the city, will suggest animations along this entire course of more than 300 m. Circus art, cycling, skateboarding or even wheelchairs, petanque area, reading, catering, archery, boxing, martial arts, percussion workshops, but also gardening or discovering plants that grow on the sidewalks …
“We had an idea to organize this during the inauguration of the avenue, which had been closed for a very long time for the metro project. The event will allow people to meet their neighbors and children to get in touch with their street in a different way. For it is not only a matter of autonomy, it is also to show them that we can do something other than video games, that we with a piece of chalk can have fun, make hopscotch, that if you look closely, you will discover wild plants, you can play hopping rope, there are lots of things that can be done on the street at a lower price and while you are active … ”emphasizes Estelle Garçon.
In the department, the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux has been a pioneer in the development of an annual program for “Streets for children” since 2017. Nanterre has also organized them in 2021. Since 2019, about twenty events of this type have been organized in Île-de-France. Other independent initiatives have also emerged, such as in Boulogne-Billancourt, which since 2016 has taken pedestrians on Boulevard Jean-Jaurès.
“We launched three calls for projects in 2015, 2017 and 2019, which made it possible to produce more than 150 children’s streets in France due to the frequent renewal of initiatives from one year to the next. In addition, many initiatives have been able to take place, apart from the call for projects, ongoing, especially in Paris and Lille ”, the collective cheers in a press release.
A new pedestrian and overgrown shopping mall was inaugurated on Saturday
The temporary lane created between rue Gabriel-Cosson and rue Jean-Longuet, during the closure of avenue Henri-Barbusse associated with work on metro line 4, has been completely planted. This new René-Rousseau shopping center will be inaugurated this Saturday from 2 pm with inaugurations and sports demonstrations. It will serve as a green connection between the Parc Robespierre (revitalized at the end of the work on line 15) and the Square du 19 March 1962 via the Parc Cosson. 40 trees were planted, including fruit trees, 500 shrubs and 4,000 perennials and grasses. A pedestrian cycle path crosses it, and to calm the traffic around the shopping center, the speed on adjacent streets will be limited to 30 km / h. This site, which will host sports equipment as well as table tennis tables, has been tagged “Terre de jeux” for the next Olympic Games.