As the increasing number of buildings hit the city, the room for children’s playground seems to be growing smaller everyday. The city life it seems, follows the same monotonous schedule everyday, with the morning session dominated with school and the afternoons with indoor video game; basically children are found spending maximum time within the four walls, due to the lack of security.
While there are a number of open fields around the city it is well known that they are breeding places for drug dealers and hence can be a bad influence for children. Adding to the monotonous schedule is the heavy workload from school, which is slowly making the present generation of teenagers, follow an extremely unhealthy lifestyle, lacking in creativity.
In a city that has seen one of the largest price-booms in the real estate sector, in the world, in the last four years—almost 400 percent in some areas—land is almost equivalent to gold. As a result of which, the concept of making a playground is gradually becoming an alien in the latest development projects. It is scary to note, that playgrounds might just become a thing of the past for the children of Dhaka.
Baridara DOHS has an open area for children. One of the few locations in Dhaka that has something remotely close to an open space where children can play. However, not all the places are as equipped. Also, the extra burden of coaching classes takes up as much time.
So what is the solution? For one, housing companies and the government’s corporations can be compelled to secure playing spaces for children. One wonders for instance, if the recent demolition of the wonderland in Gulshan, can successfully be converted into a ‘real’ playground. Even the civil society can step in and create colony playgrounds with perhaps funding from the local private sector.
Initiatives can always be taken. Take for instance, the example of a young group of students and professionals who recently teamed up to make what they call ‘Apartment Playstations.’ Designed within an indoor space, usually the abandoned office room at the corner of the garage, the group has been working to transform it into a ‘playstation’ using bright colours, recycled play items and activities. A small library comes with each playstation where children are encouraged to read, borrow and add books, mostly secondhand alongside weekend reading circles. The group’s first pilot playstation will launch later next month, and from the late hours they’ve been pulling, it seems to hold great potential for a groundbreaking solution to an unaddressed problem.
There was a time in Dhaka, when the different seasons represented the opportunities to play different outdoor games. Summer represented football for the boys an well a chance to play out in the rain for all. Winter represented a time to get hold of your racquets and play some good old badminton. These trends, however, are changing with the increasing number of areas being occupied. The increasing prices of land , of course, is only one reason behind the change. However, having said that, it is still not possible to imagine a day where children don’t actually get the chance to get a swing at their area or get to interact and play with the other children of the community. Playgrounds, always tend to have a positive impact on children, let’s take the above initiative as an example and create many more similar opportunities to preserve the future for our children.