urban planning

former CEO of Argent Group PLC argues “public spaces and parts of cities where families with young children choose to visit signal better than any marketing material that an area is clean, safe and fun! Retail, leisure and business occupiers increasingly recognise that this is good for business.” In 2016-2017 Leeds City Council set up a series of pop-up parks around the city centre; families who visited the parks said they would spend more time in the city if there were more, similar spaces. Child-friendly urban planning also makes

cities safer for everyone. A number of the case studies in the report show the striking effect of reducing traffic. After the implementation of a School Zone Improvement Project in South Korea, which introduced car-free zones and speed restrictions, children’s traffic fatalities were reduced by 95 per cent between 1998 and 2012.

conclusions If the needs of children really are being considered in urban planning, then children need to have an input into how these plans are implemented. The Belfast Healthy Cities project asked 7,000 children what they did not like about their neighbourhoods and what they would change, with the results forming major

changes to redevelopment proposals for the city, challenging the traditional assumption that adults know best. Without first consulting the children about the changes they think should be made, it is impossible to perceive the actual impact of those changes once they’ve been made, the project argues. The majority of people will be living in

cities in the future, and if they are planned with the needs of children in mind they will be much better places to live in. Child- friendly urban planning seeks to build

greener cities with less room for traffic and more room for recreation. Arup’s report stresses that urban regeneration needs to be a product of evidence-based research and as a result the changes should be co- designed by children. This level of involvement not only allows children to see the impact they can have on their own cities, but also gives them the chance to develop skills, engage in teamwork and to design and build a city that is tailored to their needs and to the needs of future generations.

1Based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, children are defined as people aged 0-17 years. #urbanchildhoods


Image: Playground Ideas

Image: Juninatt, Shutterstock

Image: Dickson Phua Singapore, BY-NC-ND 2.0

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