Creating better places with children and young people

According to UNICEF, a child-friendly city is any local governance system that is committed to improving the lives of local children by realising their rights.

Local governments can show this commitment by making children’s voices, needs and rights a core part of policies, projects and decision-making.

Municipalities in at least 47 countries have received UNICEF’s official child-friendly city accreditation or are working to achieve it through supported initiatives.

Many more municipalities have enacted policies supporting the rights of children and young people and prioritised their needs in urban planning and local governance.

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 in the wake of widespread disruption from the pandemic.

This bundle is part of the 7 September 2021 edition of the Global Local Recap, which focuses on innovative approaches to planning with children and young people.

Photo by Artem Kniaz on Unsplash

20-minute neighbourhoods and child-friendly cities


Making space for children and young people during recovery

Drawing on global expertise, this briefing examines the mental and physical impacts of the pandemic on children and young people and explores 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 this briefing here.

Engaging children and young people in placemaking

In the second part of this 20-minute neighbourhood series, this briefing draws on a diverse range of international case studies to explore how local governments can work with children and young people to achieve healthier, sustainable and more inclusive neighbourhoods. Read this briefing here.

Background: 20-minute neighbourhoods

With lockdowns imposed across the globe, Covid-19 put a magnifying glass over local infrastructure – in many cases exposing gaps and inequality. The result has been renewed enthusiasm for 20-minute cities, which prioritise local access to services. In this bundle, we dive into the urban planning ideal to provide a local government perspective. Read our content here.

Embedding children's rights in planning and policy


A 'child's rights' approach: how one question can help councils plan fairer and healthier futures

Choosing and implementing policies that are coherent with child health and environmental sustainability, rather than accelerated ecological decline, is necessary for a sustainable and fair future. This briefing explains how embedding children’s rights in policy-making starts with one question: how do our policies affect young people’s life-chances now and in the future? Read this briefing here.

How a child rights impact assessment can deliver better decision-making for children

Naomi Danquah, Programme Director, Child Friendly Cities and Communities, UK Committee for UNICEF discusses the need to include children and young people when policy decisions are made and how local authorities can make that happen. Read this blog here.

An obesogenic environment? Childhood obesity and urban planning

This briefing explains how current research and practice in policy approaches to the built environment and childhood obesity can inform local government planning and policy in Scotland. LGIU Members can read this briefing here.

Global approaches to child-friendly communities


Engaging children in placemaking

How can we engage children in placemaking? Alex Robinson from New Union describes a fun activity for civic-minded primary school kids and tells us about a placemaking policy hack-a-thon for the adults, too. Read this blog here.

Global Local Executive Panel: Child-friendly cities

On July 15th 2021, LGIU Australia and VLGA presented an international panel of expert speakers from a variety of positions in Scotland and Queensland and Victoria, Australia, to discuss what the impact of Covid-19 has been on children and young people in their jurisdictions. LGIU Members can watch the event recording here.

Towards child-friendly cities

LGIU’s Ingrid Koehler visited Bristol in 2019 to find out what they were doing to make their city truly child-friendly and what that meant for us grown ups. Read this blog here.


The 7 September 2021 Global Local Recap focuses on planning with children and young people. This edition features recent innovation in Ireland, Australia and India, as well as policy, studies and guidance from the US, UK and beyond.

Complex global issues require local level action more than ever. Our free newsletter, the Global Local Recap, highlights inspiration and innovation in local government across the globe. Click here to find out more and sign up.