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Child-friendly urban design is an approach to city planning and design that considers the needs of children and their families. It aims to create cities and neighbourhoods where children can safely and easily play, learn, and grow.

Urban Public Space and Children:

Urban public spaces play a vital role in children’s lives. They provide opportunities for physical activity, social interaction, and imaginative play. Well-designed public spaces can also help to promote children’s cognitive development, creativity, and well-being..

Unfortunately, many urban public spaces are not designed with children in mind. They may be unsafe, inaccessible, or simply not very engaging. This can lead to children spending less time outdoors and more time in front of screens.

Why is child- friendly urban design important:

Child-friendly urban design is important for a number of reasons:                                                                                                                                   

1-Physical and mental health: Children who have access to safe and engaging public spaces are more likely to be physically active and have better mental health. Physical activity is essential for children’s growth and development, and it can help to reduce the risk of obesity, chronic diseases, and mental health problems.

2-Social and emotional development: Public spaces provide opportunities for children to socialise, interact with others, and learn new skills. Children who have access to child-friendly public spaces are more likely to develop strong social and emotional skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and conflict resolution.

3-Cognitive development: Public spaces can also help to promote children’s cognitive development. By exploring their surroundings, interacting with different objects and people, and engaging in creative activities, children can learn new things and develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

The role of public spaces for children:

Public spaces play a vital role in children’s development, physical health and activity, social interaction, and community building.


Public spaces provide children with opportunities to explore their surroundings, learn new things, and develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They can also help to promote children’s creativity and imagination. For example, a child may play hide-and-seek in a park, or build a sandcastle at the beach. These activities help children to develop their cognitive skills and learn about the world around them.

Playful public space: a diverse set of safe, accessible, engaging public spaces for play and recreation, including plentiful green space.

Child-friendly urban public space typology:

  • Parks
  • Playgrounds and play areas
  • Sports grounds
  • Informal recreational grounds
  • Civic spaces
  • Nature areas
  • Per-urban countryside
  • Community gardens
  • Left-over spaces in planned housing areas
  • Schoolyards

 Opportunities to shape child -friendly cities:


These actions can be adapted to the progress, resources and aspirations of cities.

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Telephone: 0191 208 6509