The city of Malmö realised that its teenage parks were being dominated by boys. The result was Rösens Rodda Matta, a park designed by and for girls.

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A park built for girls.

As far as we know – and we really would like to be proved wrong on this – there is only one park in Europe which has been designed by, with and for girls, and that’s Rosens Roda Matta in Malmö.

Illustration of park with areas of red floor and a climbing wall and exercise bars with people using it

This came about in a rather different way to the developments in Vienna and Barcelona. For some time, the city of Malmö had been developing odd abandoned corners of the city into play areas for teenagers, with spaces for skateboarding, climbing and graffiti. Several developments down the line they realised that these were not being used by all teenagers, but 80% by boys.

So when another space came up for grabs, an old car park in the disadvantaged suburb of Rosengård, the city decided to tackle the issue, and the space was designed in consultation with a group of girls from the area, aged 16-24.

Small park with red path running through tarmac and lighting poles which are pin

The result was an urban activity park containing a climbing wall, a stage for performances – either organised or impromptu performances or classes – and a set of bars for climbing and gymnastics. In addition, the area is broken up into a series of smaller spaces so that no one group can dominate.

Photo: Moa Björnson

What the project also revealed is that the girls found the experience of being consulted and of having an impact on their environment at least as satisfying as the park which resulted. After Rosens Roda Matta was completed, they formed a permanant advocacy group, Engaged in Malmö, to help other girls and women become involved in urban planning and having an influence on the shape of their city

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