We want to give a voice to those who do not normally have it, children and teenagers, promoting their right in forming and expressing a judgment about the habitat where they live. We seek to stimulate a critical attitude to drive their development as an active citizenry. Seeing that they will be responsible for the city of tomorrow. Conforming, therefore, the foundations of critical citizenship.
“At one time we were afraid of the mountain. It was the mountain of wolf, of the ogre, of darkness. It was the place where we could get lost. When elders told us tales, the mountain was the preferred place to hide from enemies, traps, anguish. […] At one time we felt safe between the houses, in the city, the neighborhood. This was the place where we were looking for teammates, where we found them to play together. There it was our place, the place where we hid, where we used to organize the gang, where we played moms, where we hid the treasure… […] But in a few decades, everything changed. There has been a tremendous, fast, total transformation, as our society has never seen before (at least as recorded in documented history). […] The mountain became beautiful, luminous, the object of dreams and desires. The city, on the other hand, has become something dirty, gray, monstrous. […] In the last decades, and in a totally evident way in the last fifty years, the city, born as a meeting and exchange place, discovered the commercial value of the space and altered all the concepts of balance, well-being and community to follow only programs of benefits, of interests. It sold itself, prostituted itself. […] The city is now like the mountain of our tales.”
THE inHABITANTS OF TOMORROW
The reality today is that the natural connection between children and their habitat, the place where they grow and develop, the city or town where they live, is diluted and barely exists. We found children in their homes, watching TV, with their video games, playing in their fenced and guarded urbanizations, moving by car and discovering the city through the window, where the park or the square were replaced by the mall. The city is a hostile environment for them, they have lost their freedom, which is limited to certain areas apparently safe and which are controlled by adults. We are transmitting to children our current fear of cities and towns, making them feel that they are not safe.
Game is a main activity for children’s development. It is a powerful learning tool for a society’s attitudes, behaviors and values. During childhood, we learned by playing, therefore, the workshops were developed through game as a fundamental tool in these ages. We seek for learning by acting in reality, on the premises, addressing spatial situations that can be known in advance and that are rediscovered from a new perspecctive. We also seek for the action through child’s movement, discovering space from the maximum freedom of play
HOW “A VILA DO MAÑA” WORKS”
To our thought, it is necessary children and adolescents actively witness the processes of the common space’s construction, providing them with the necessary tools to develop their creativity from ART and ARCHITECTURE, in order to provoke their awakening of a new vision and creating links of identity with the spaces in which they inhabit.
A Vila do Maña’s workshop are structured in 5 days and in two different types of activities.
The ‘IN’ activities are carried out with children from 3 to 5 years old inside the workshop.
The ‘OUT’ activities turn the city we inhabit into a game board, an experimental laboratory carried out with kids from 6 to 17 years old.
“I face the city with my body; my legs measure the length of the porches and the width of the square; my gaze unconsciously projects my body onto the facade of the cathedral, where it wanders through the mouldings and outlines, feeling the size of the entrances and exits… I feel in the city and the city exists through my embodied experience. The city and my body complement and define each other. I live in the city and the city lives in me.”
Their habitat becomes their game board, invading spaces, streets, squares, buildings… and using different materials and approaches. We call it “warfare urbanism“. In those five days the most symbolic architectural and landscape elements of the city are studied, recovered, lived and, most important, enjoyed, generating a sense of identity. The city where they live has changed for them, now the city and its spaces belong to them.