The revolution is a pedestrian area, the entrance to a school freed from cars, a green circuit between the classrooms and the city where the little ones can walk safely away from traffic.
Addicted to Italian normality, where cars besiege the entrances to kindergartens and high schools, we have stopped thinking of the city spaces in front of schools as a world of possibilities, the thread that links education to the right to clean air, greenery, free time.
And, instead, in the world there are those who have begun to unfold that thread, transforming with tenacity - and design thinking - the urban areas in front of the schools into real squares.
School squares is the title of the essay in which Paolo Pileri, Cristina Renzoni and Paola Savoldi tell, for Corraini, the dream of a transformation that is necessary in many respects: “The entrance to every school is a place with very high potential: it is in the space in front of the school that, experiencing the first moments of autonomy, we build representations and memories of the environment that surrounds us.
It is here that the younger generations have direct experience of the consideration that society has for their needs and rights.
This is why it is urgent to take care of school squares, often neglected today, by observing and rethinking them".
The essay draws on four virtuous international cases of fully realized school squares.
“Denmark cares about the health of the new generations, who are increasingly sedentary, and has devised a program involving several cities to create school squares capable of stimulating movement and physical activity through play: structural interventions that limit access by car, transforming the context around and in front of the school into a place where it is more fun to get around on foot.
In Spain we discover the determination of a large city like Barcelona in wanting to take care of every school in the area, about six hundred, so that children can stay in an environment feeling fully safe and at ease.
A plan spread over time provides for the creation of quality spaces with light and widespread interventions.
In western Germany, the municipality of Schermbeck has developed a regeneration strategy dedicated to the integration of school squares within an urban system of pedestrian paths and open spaces, so that children and teenagers can walk independently among the most important places in their city.
In London, the school square is created by closing a road, where the asphalt gives way to permeable pavements and tanks inhabited by vegetation and sculptures that come to life with the rain.
In these countries, the spaces that had gradually been occupied by something completely different have been regained for collective and slow use.
School squares are already a happy reality where it has been possible to bring the school back to the center together with its vital energy and to take care of the beauty of the public space that is in front of and next to it, creating courageous and surprising projects that have restored dignity and a role to those symbolic and delicate spaces”.