Importance of Child friendly cities & its implementation
Space for children
Outdoor experience for children must be versatile, creative and safe. It should give them the freedom to experiment while interacting with nature. Giving them the liberty to design their own playground.
The public spaces are usually very restricted and over-specified. There is almost next to no free movement for them as there is high level urban sprawl and vehicular movement.
Why is it important?
- To provide children with a protected environment in which they can participate in organized activities to play, socialize, learn, and express themselves .
- The healthy development of children is crucial for future well being of the society.
- To reduce dependency on technology for personal growth.
Fig. 1: Children activity and movement in different spaces
Many historians believe that children in the Medieval times were barely noticed and treated as small adults.
Boys were forced to do hard labour on the fields, to enter military training or to learn their future occupation already in the early childhood, while girls of all classes had to help their mothers in household.
The ‘First Playground’ (bearing for the first time this name) were built in the USA in order to ‘include’ and keep immigrants’ children off the streets .
The very first public playground, established in 1870 in the New York central park necessary to display children in public because they were recognized as means of a larger social transformation.
Fig.2: Children working in factories, study done by United States Department of Labour
How to make a city Child Friendly?
The process of building child friendly cities depends upon the local requirements and factors such as culture, political environment, administrative structures, population size and available resources.
But some common steps include:
- Assessing the situation of children, including them in the process
- Prioritizing actions and including them in the local development plan (Synthesis Action Plan for Children)
- Implementing the plan with relevant municipal stakeholders including children themselves
- Assessing the results for children
What makes a city Child Friendly?
- Lots of Green Space, Accessible to Everyone
2. Safe Walking and Cycling Infrastructure, Especially Around Schools
3. Low-Speed Zones
4. Car-Free Streets
5. Consider cognitive abilities of children
6. Clean Air Zones
Focus areas & Strategies to achieve Child Friendly Cities Initiative include:
Fig.3: UNICEF focus areas & strategies to achieving Child friendly cities
- There are many important factors necessary to keep in mind while designing a Child friendly city.
- Researching the needs of Children is important and to implement them w.r.t. the culture.
- Children must be given their human rights as their well being is important for the future of the society.
Fig.1: The Guardian- What would the ultimate child-friendly city look like? Available at https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/feb/28/child-friendly-city-indoors-playing-healthy-sociable-outdoors
Fig. 2: United States Department of Labour, Report on Child Labour. Available at https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2017/article/history-of-child-labor-in-the-united-states-part-1.htm
Fig.3: UNICEF focus areas & strategies to achieving Child friendly cities. Available at https://www.childfriendlycities.org/strategies-focus-areas