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With the development of society, researchers found that more than half of the children in the world are growing up in cities. According to statistics, by 2030, up to 60 percent of the world’s urban population will be under 18 years old.

That’s why urban designers began to explore child-friendly cities. But to become a child-friendly city, it needs some basic conditions: Liveable streets, Walking and cycling networks, Playful public space and Liveable housing.

Liveable streets

The Eixample of Barcelona is famous for its uniform, regular and extensive grid which shows a solid, mixed and highly densified city with a consolidated public space. Right now, this area needs to reprogram and recycle itself to respond to a rapidly changing and developing society, environment and economy. Climate emergency, pollution and the lack of green and social spaces, drives the innovative transformation of Barcelona Eixample.

Figure 1: The picture of the Eixample of Barcelona

The corners of the road were developed into squares, and roads were reshaped into green and healthy area. Streets with signage and color maps redefine the graphic language, charting the basis for new distribution and redistributing space on the road.

Walking and cycling networks

Sainte-Catherine St. West’s renovation has completed, the old street has become a safe, green pedestrian central. In this district, cars, bicycles, and pedestrians have equal rights of way and share urban roads.

Figure 2: The picture of the St Sainte-Catherine

The plan eliminates street parking and widens the sidewalks, changing the proportion of space allocated to cars and pedestrians and turning it into a place for people activities. Newly pavement features modular paving to mark different spaces and their uses. Different colours could inform pedestrians the existion of the vehicular lane or the safe pedestrian zone.

Playful public space

The multi-functional art playground Baltimore Bend, designed by Arttenders and Studio Spass has been opened in the Baltimore Square. The residents who live there believe that the Baltimore Bend is a nice combination of park, playground and art.

Figure 3: The picture of the playground’s top view

The organic shape are inspired by the city of Almere: its colorful and experimental architecture, the water of Almere and the diversity of the city and inhabitants. Designers creat a playful and interesting route which child could through the curved shape and perforations in the brightly colored steel construction to explore different areas. The open shape of the artwork ensures a clear view for parent and children, connects the artwork with its urban environment as well.

Liveable housing

The location of the Aranya, Beidai River Cultural and Creative Blocks is backed by the Wetland Ecological Park, which is the last narrow strip of the southern coast. The building returns to the enclosed state which constitutes a new socializing space, creating conditions for community communication.

Figure 4: The picture of the aerial view of cultural district

The corner square of the Fifth Canteen builds a variety of facilities for children to play with water. The facilities use the natural stones and the interactive water source to increase the playability and exploratory of device. Apart from this, they also inject the vitality of parent-child games into the whole block. This space is  convenient for parents to supervise their children’s play as well.

Figure 5: The picture of the interactive water feature

In conclusion, designing a safe and friendly city also requires considering the needs of children. They are important participants in the city and play an important role in urban development.


Gill, T. (2021). Urban Playground: How Child-Friendly Planning and Design Can Save Cities (1st ed.). RIBA Publishing.

Russell, W., Barclay, M., Tawil, B. and Derry, C. (2019) Children’s Right to Play in Wales: Six years of stories and change since the commencement of the Welsh Play Sufficiency Duty, Cardiff: Play Wales.

ARUP, 2017, Cities Alive: Designing for urban childhoods, London.

Driskell, David C. Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth : A Manual for Participation. London: Earthscan, 2002. Print.

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Planning and Landscape
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