Before the summer of 2022, two new theme playgrounds will be created in Helsingborg; one in Fredriksdal and one in Dockanparken in the new district Oceanhamnen. Public toilets will be built next to both playgrounds. Placing public toilets next to playgrounds is nothing new. To adapt the design of the toilets both externally and internally so that they become a clear part of the overall experience for those who visit the playground - we have not tested this before.
Together with Danfo, we are now developing a completely new toilet concept that we call the Family Toilet. The goal of the Family Toilet is to create safe and happy toilet experiences for the users, where children / young people and the adults in their vicinity are seen as the primary target group. In the development, we have listened to the needs and wishes of the users and in connection with H22 city expo, the idea is to show the finished product. During the expo, we open the doors and invite visitors to test, think and contribute to further development.
In Helsingborg, there is a will to develop the city in a more child-friendly direction. To succeed in this, we need to become better at listening in and acting based on the children's needs and wishes.
With insight from everyday life, where a five-year-old did not want to go to a public toilet in connection with a playground visit, an early idea was born of a toilet where the children's user experience is in focus. Now children are individuals and not a homogeneous group. This of course means that a child's experience is not representative of all children. At the same time, that five-year-old with a fear of toilets is probably not alone in thinking that it is okay to go to the toilet. Many parents can certainly confirm that picture and that it can often be a challenge and a certain resistance when it is time for the children to fulfill the needs. Especially when it comes to doing it in a public restroom.
What is it then about the toilet situation that arouses such discomfort in many children? And is there anything we can do to change that?
In the spring of 2020, the idea of creating toilets with and for children was born. At the beginning of the autumn of the same year, the idea was pitched for colleagues at the City Building Administration and shortly afterwards a dialogue was initiated with our procured toilet supplier Danfo. In parallel, we conducted interviews with children, young people and parents in Helsingborg. We talked to mainly small but also older children, teenagers, parents and some vulnerable groups and people with special needs. In the interview process, we asked open-ended questions, partly about the experience today but also how one would like it to be. In total, we talked to about 40 people. We processed the material we received and identified a couple of different themes / areas. We included these as input in the dialogue with Danfo.
The usual time is that we act as a customer and place an order for what we want for the supplier. In this case, we decided to do together by forming a joint working group, where we enter with equal parts development time. Before the turn of the year 2020/2021, the decision was made and soon after that we started the practical work. We started with an idea to make child-friendly toilets and came to develop a completely new toilet concept where the child is in focus while we look at the whole family experience. The work has been characterized by an open dialogue, where we all come up with ideas and suggestions for solutions. A great strength has been that we have had a variety of abilities in the work. Another is that the commitment has been genuine from "both sides". In the autumn of 2021, the first family toilet will be in place in Dockanparken, and in early spring 2022, the second toilet will be completed up in Fredriksdal. During H22 city expo we will then: To conduct a dialogue with children and families to further increase knowledge of how:
- design, layout and technology can make it easier for children and families to use the toilet and make it safer.
- To evaluate how a clear design, layout and technology for children and families affects security in the public place.