“I’m even afraid to imagine my child walking around a construction site!” We often heard such comments during interviews for the exhibition “Hero’s Journey: The Last Week of Summer”. Adults enthusiastically recounted their childhood adventures: how they went to school on their own, explored the neighborhood with friends, and could even get to a strategic enterprise through a hole in the fence. “Those were different times,” the adults say. But is it really so? Can modern children explore the city on their own? How to prepare a child for the first urban exploration while minimizing risks to life and health? What does this experience offer and do children need it? This is how the idea for the Go for a Walk project was inspired.

Why do we raise these issues?

Above all, we want the space we live in to be comfortable for everyone, including children. 

After all, childhood in the city is not just about apartment buildings, busy playgrounds, or regular visits to hobby groups, shopping centers, museums, and theaters. In fact, there are many more opportunities than dangers.

From a young age, we quickly learn to navigate in space, as we often find ourselves on new streets. And when we use public transportation, we also master time management skills and practice decision-making. In addition, we expand our social circle and gain a better understanding of ourselves in the context of the city environment. 

It is crucial that adults support and assist children in this process. 

However, this process requires careful preparation. The child may be afraid. Parents often feel anxious too. And this is not surprising, as information channels are full of threats and dangers that could be waiting for a child outside the house.

We cannot control many things and make cities absolutely safe. However, we are able at least somehow avoid possible troubles. Much depends on the children themselves. Because they often provoke dangerous situations. For example, they run across the road when the traffic light is red.  

Psychologists say that behavior patterns can be predicted and corrected to some extent. Parents just need a little information and a lot of patience. 

With this project, we aim to help parents establish communication with their children in order to encourage them to explore the city space by overcoming their own fears, obstacles and dangers. We hope to reduce parental anxiety and increase children’s independent mobility in the city. At the same time, we hope to create a platform for parents to share their experiences.

Why did we title the project “Go for a walk”?

Do you remember how your mum/dad (grandma/grandpa) used to complain on a sunny day? “How long can you sit in front of the TV, go for a walk!” We are sure that nowadays modern children hear less and less of this from their adults. And the home is often considered the only safe place for a child. 

Who helped us?

Our main characters are parents and their children. They not only share their own experiences but also their fears and worries. Thus, they often guide our team in the right direction. 

We also managed to bring together experts from the NGO Cultural Geographies, the Family Circle Health and Development Centre, the UCU Centre for Child Dignity, the Patrol Police of Lviv Oblast, Lviv City Council, Lvivelectrotrans transport company, Municipal company Lev, and others to discuss child safety.

The topics we filmed in 2021:

  • experience of exploring the city: what independent traveling brings and why you shouldn’t avoid it;
  • safe travel: road, bicycle, electric transport, buses; 
  • children vs adults: circle of trust, good and bad strangers, personal boundaries and developing trust between parents and children; 
  • Children and animals in the city: how to understand urban pets and coexist peacefully with them.

You can watch the video on the City Museum’s YouTube channel. 

The project is implemented by the Foundation for the Development of the City Museum in Lviv and the City Museum team with the support of the ZMIN Foundation. 

The ZMIN Foundation is a private Ukrainian foundation established to provide systematic expert support for effective social transformation and sustainable development. The model of activity is strategic philanthropy. 

The City Museum, as a modern museum institution, not only collects, researches and analyses the memories of citizens, but also raises issues of the day that are relevant to society, which makes it possible to draw parallels and influence the development of the local community.

Explore the city safely with MuMi!