A snappy ten-point checklist for a child-friendly city has been pulled together by Vancouver urbanist and writer Jillian Glover. I confess I am cautious about the ‘top tips’ style of writing, which can lead to oversimplification. But this ticked a lot of my boxes.
Glover’s piece focuses on real-life qualities of cities that matter most to parents and children – homes, services, mobility, amenities, public space, subjective safety – and makes clear links from these to urban planning and policy. In doing so, it offers a set of topics and priorities that should be central to thinking about – and arguing for – child-friendly cities.
Too much of the advocacy and academic work on child-friendliness looks at process – different ways to engage and involve children and young people in decision-making – rather than on outcomes, as I have written before. This has to change if we are to improve the lives of the billions of children who are going to be growing up in cities around the world. We already know the basics about what makes cities good places for children to live, learn and grow: we don’t have to keep asking them to tell us.
Here’s the short version of Glover’s list:
- Family–oriented housing
- Access to schools and childcare
- Access to public transit
- Access to nature
- Access to amenities
- Public safety
- Fun and whimsy
As I have said, the list chimes with a lot of my thinking (though I would like to have seen something about social and cultural diversity). What do you think of it?