Skip to content

The child-friendly city was firstly proposed by the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in 1996. It aimed to make cities liveable for all. On the other hand, in UNICEF terms, these words refer to “children first”. A child-friendly city is a city fulfills children’s rights and respects children’s right at the local level. In this city, children’s voices are especially taken into consideration (CFC, 2009).

Children’s Participation

Children’s needs sometimes are difficult from adults. And children, as a disadvantaged group, could not easily express their needs under power from parents and schools. Thus it is necessary to take particular methods to encourage children to express views freely (Lansdown G, 2001). Children’s participation is one of the most important methods here.

Figure 1: Children make a decision (CFC, 2017)

The World Vision (2014)  proposed guideline to improve children’s participation in urban aspect:

  • Promote a culture of long-term participation;
  • Implement the urban programme focusing on children;
  • Build the participation at the community level;
  • Ensure the practice without discrimination;
  • Help other community members understand the approaches;
  • Ensure meaningful participation and address critical issues;
  • Tailor the process to children’s capacity;
  • Ensure the accessibility to child-friendly spaces and activities;
  • Ensure accountability to children for more engagement;
  • Conduct training sessions for greater impact.
Case study: Spain

The programme which is from 1993 aims to foster children’s participation in all public spheres, develop children’s rights, and strengthen information sharing networks by urban planning and government policies (UNICEF, 2009).

The main strategies involve:

  • Putting children’s rights as the centre
  • Promoting children’s participation
  • Developing socialization, community interaction, and coordination
  • Integrating municipal policies related to children
  • Engaging municipalities in the implementation of the UN CRC
  • Monitoring and evaluation the performance of children’s well-being indicators

According to the Article 12, children have “the right to be listened and taken seriously” (Lansdown G, 2001). In urban design aspect, this means children’s need and right should be considered and satisfied in the decision-making (UNICEF, 2004) It is necessary to pay more attention and take strategies to provide them better living environment.


Reference List

Child Friendly Cities (CFC). (2009). Promoted by UNICEF National Committees and Country Offices. New York: UNICEF.

Lansdown, G. (2001). Promoting Children’s Participation in Democratic Decision-making. Florence: UNICEF.

UNICEF. (2004). Building Child Friendly Cities: A Framework for Action, Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research centre.

UNICEF. (2009).”Ciudades Amigas de la Infancia”. Review of Child-friendly City Projects [aceessed online] (Available at:

World Vision. (2014). Just Cities For Children: Voices From Urban Slums. 1st ed. Centre of Expertise for Urban Programming (Urban CoE).

Image Resouce

Figure 1: Children make a decision, accessed online:

One response to “Research on child-friendly cities”

  1. Peggy is taking about a kind of serious issue in this blog. She mentioned about a concept of child-friendly city that encouraging planners consider more about children’s idea.
    According to my own experience, people always ignore children’s views because the adults often believe that children are too childish to thinking about a problem perfectly. So most of the children are living as their parents asked without expressing their own ideas. But in reality, with the development of education, children can get more useful knowledge that helps them to solve the problem by themselves. From Peggy’s blog, I found there were already communities realizing the importance of children’s participation during the urban design which is fortunate. In addition, the guideline for encouraging children joining in the urban development is efficient to ensure children’s abilities to express their ideas and protect their rights. At the same time, it is helpful for the urban design, because it makes the urban planners considering more completely instead of only focusing on the demands from the adult people.

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


Hit Counter provided by recruiting services