Tuesday, 7 Sep 2021  |  Reading time:  11 mins  | Read online

Child-friendly communities

Each week we’ll focus on a different global topic, highlighting innovative content and insights from LGIU and our members around the world.  

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Towns and cities that are good for children are good for everyone, that’s what child-friendly city advocates say and we tend to agree. Children want outdoor spaces, things to do and easy mobility. Parents want safe and enriching environments. Planning with children can benefit the whole community. 

Many areas are embracing ‘building back better,' after so many of us recognized the value of local spaces and places during the pandemic. This week we’re focusing on engaging children and teenagers in planning and the benefits of urban development that keeps the child in all of us in mind.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be covering smart cities and ways to cut emissions from waste. If you would like to share a story on our blog or a strategy from your council, fill in this simple form or drop me a line at ingrid.koehler@lgiu.org.

Have a story to share? Get in touch!

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This week's featured content

Towards the 20-minute neighbourhood:
Engaging children and young people in placemaking

By Alice Creasy, Merle Zierke, Kat McManus, and Kim Fellows, LGIU

Why? Conventional planning typically does not take the perspectives of children into account. When kids are considered in the context of specific infrastructure such as schools or parks, safety is often the focus. As a result, children and teenagers may be relegated to specific spaces, such as playgrounds, or planned out of public spaces entirely. 

“Engaging children and young people in planning gives them a voice and helps them become active, engaged citizens."

How? Children and young people can be engaged in a range of ways, including to gather information, develop policy or evaluate masterplans. Engagement approaches can involve movement, art, music, and storytelling.

For example, a Traffic Agent app in Oslo, Norway, gamified the collection of real-time road safety data by primary school-aged children, while the video game Minecraft was used in Hanoi, Vietnam, to help girls reimagine their school neighbourhoods.

What can my local authority do?

LGIU Global Local Highlights


Bundle: Creating better places with children and young people

This bundle highlights how local authorities can work with children and young people to create communities more suited to their current priorities and future needs. 
Read the latest LGIU content here.

Making space for children and young people on the road to recovery: Are 20-minute neighbourhoods the answer?

Drawing on global expertise, this briefing examines the mental and physical impacts of the pandemic on children and young people and explore the benefits the 20-minute neighbourhood could have on their health and wellbeing – highlighting ways local authorities can include children and young people in planning practices. 
Read the briefing here.

The future of schooling post Covid-19 and beyond
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted all sections of society and exposed its fault lines, particularly in education systems across the world. This briefing focuses on the lessons being learned from the pandemic and looks at a number of key studies and strategies globally. 
Read the briefing here.

Innovation & Inspiration

Curated case studies and news from around the globe

IRELAND: Playful Culture Trail creates kids activities in 30 Cork museums and parks

All Cork museums and galleries joined forces to create a local activity trail for children staying in the city this summer. The Playful Culture Trail aimed to make children feel welcome in cultural institutions through creative challenges from completing a labyrinth to finding a medieval bowling ball. Future child-friendly plans include developing a play street in the city centre.
Irish Examiner / Marjorie Brennan

Related: Thousands take part in Summer of Smiles family festival as part of Cardiff’s Child Friendly Recovery Wales247 / Rhys Gregory

AUSTRALIA: ‘Play Streets’ advocated to reconnect communities

A new toolkit seeks to help local governments support 1,000 play-friendly streets for children by 2025. The Play Australia initiative invites councils to temporarily close quiet residential streets regularly, allowing children to play freely. Following a successful pilot, the national initiative aims to improve children’s physical and mental health during and after pandemic recovery.
Play Australia

Related: International guidance for safer playground use in pandemic highlighted The Conversation / Sharon Goldfeld and Jill Sewell

INDIA: Local challenges tackled creatively by school students

Over a thousand 10-to-16-year-olds developed solutions to municipal challenges including e-waste and LGBTQ+ discrimination in this year’s ‘Our City Our Challenge’ initiative. The Bala Janaagraha initiative invites children to identify, investigate, implement and share solutions to local challenges, either as an innovator, activist or systems thinker. Participants could choose challenge topics including road safety, climate change and local governance.

Related: Child-friendly provisions recommended for draft Delhi Master Plan 2041 The Indian Express / Sukrita Baruah

To find out more:

💻 Watch - In this TedxMileHigh talk, Mara Mintzer talks about successes and lessons from the Growing Up Boulderchild and youth-friendlyinitiative, which she co-founded in 2009. Mintzer discusses children’s role as social indicators, the spotlight they shine on other excluded community groups and their value as citizens today as well as future citizens.

🎧 Listen - How can Indian town and city planners incorporate children’s unique perspectives, compassion and community visions? Ruchi Varma, CEO and founder of social design enterprise HumanQind, proposes answers in this ‘Understanding the Future’ podcast episode by the Climate Centre for Cities.

Policy & Resources

To help you develop your own strategy to engage children and young people, we’ve brought together a selection of useful approaches from across the globe.

US: San Francisco is one of the pilot UNICEF child-friendly cities in the United States, but this is not their first effort. In 2017, they published a family friendly planning policy review, including comparisons with other global cities, key policy questions and a potential template for housing and family services reviews elsewhere. They are continuing with their work by developing a new Child and Youth Engagement Strategy

UK: The Royal Town Planning Institute conducted a 2019 review of Child Friendly Planning in the UK, looking at each constituent nation in depth.

Global: ARUP compiled 40 global case studies and made recommendations for interventions and actions for city leaders in their Cities Alive: Designing for Urban Childhoods report. 

UK: Researchers from the University of Bristol prepared a working paper for the Bristol All-Age Friendly City group and Future Cities Catapult outlining the similarities between age-friendly and child-friendly cities in an effort to make urban areas better for everyone. 

Global: “What would child-friendly cities look like, if children were mayors?” Ahead of the Child Friendly Cities Summit in October 2019, the Child Friendly Cities Initiative and its Youth Advisory Board prepared the ‘Our cities. Our lives. Our future.’ manifesto based on the input of more than 120,000 children in 167 countries. Find out more here about the summit, its Inspire Awards, and its final report.

Interested in other LGIU Global content?

Global Local Community Champion: Nominations open for 2021 Cllr Awards

Nominations are flooding in for the 2021 LGIU & CCLA Cllr Awards! This year, we are delighted to introduce a new Global Local Community Champion award category that is open to elected local government representatives from across the globe. Nominations can be made by anyone and are open until midnight on Friday 24 September. 
Make sure your council doesn’t miss out – nominate a councillor today!

Global Local Think Tank Review

Our first Global Local Think Tank Review rounds up locally-focused analysis and guidance from research institutes and think tanks around the world. This month’s edition features research reports on place, supporting children and young people, and the ways different countries are trying to individualise adult social care. 
Read the review here.

Thanks for reading!

Next week, we're focusing on smart cities. We'll look at the opportunities and risks associated with smart technologies for municipalities across the globe, from enabling better resource management to creating privacy challenges through data collection. We'll highlight relevant case studies and innovative smart policies.

If you would like to share your story, you can fill in this simple form or drop me a line at ingrid.koehler@lgiu.org. Please forward this free newsletter to a colleague or share it on social media to help us reach even more people who value local government globally. We tweet from @GlobalLocalLGIU.

Want more content? Visit our website to access our Global Local briefings, blogs, podcast and more.

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