Exploring child-friendly urban public spaces
As I delved into this week’s lesson, I thought deeply about the public space component of residential communities. In the six months I have been studying and living in Newcastle, it has become apparent to me that there is a lack of child-friendly activity spaces in public spaces. A good community needs to consider spaces for children to move around.
A Research on Child Friendly Cities
In 1996, UNICEF and UN Habitat jointly developed the concept of “child-friendly cities”. The United Nations released ‘Shaping urbanization for children’ in 2017. This is A handbook on child-responsive urban planning. A reference document to help those working in urban planning and design on child-friendly urban spatial planning. The relationship between children’s development and the spatial scale of the city is described. The content of children’s needs for urban space is also presented.
(fig1: Space and scale of urban childhoods. UNICEF_Shaping_urbanization_for_children_handbook_2018.pdf)
There are physical, psychological, behavioral, and cognitive gaps between children of different ages. Physiologically, children develop quickly physically. As they grow older, children’s need for space varies from age to age. Psychologically, children are influenced by factors such as gender, age, and cognitive level. Curiosity and herd mentality are reflected in children’s activities. Due to their different personalities, they have different perceptions of space. This factor leads to different behavioral needs for space. Similarly, there are differences in the degree of need for natural space, open space and hidden space among children of different ages.
Cities should provide safe and inclusive public and green spaces for children. Promote children’s participation in effective outdoor activities. Public and green spaces are conducive to healthy child development. These spaces can promote healthy physical activity for children. For example, public playgrounds, recreational green spaces, public squares, etc., as well as pedestrian streets and pathways that connect communities to the city serve as reminders to children. Improve children’s safety in urban public spaces.
(fig2: New playgrounds in a square previously used as a parking lot, Tirana, Albania.UNICEF_Shaping_urbanization_for_children_handbook_2018.pdf)
Vision and Future
For child-friendly urban public spaces, more research should be carried out following the behavioral characteristics of children. Improve the construction of children’s activity spaces in urban public spaces. Ensure the safety of activity spaces. Meet the needs of children for urban public space. Build child-friendly urban public spaces that meet suitability, sustainability, and safety.
 “Shaping urbanization for children | UNICEF.” https://www.unicef.org/reports/shaping-urbanization-children.
 Xian Tianman, and Xin Mengyao. “Design method and development of game environment.” World Architecture 11 (2016): 27-32.