Shaping urbanization for children, a handbook on child-responsive urban planning, presents concepts, evidence and technical strategies to bring children to the foreground of urban planning. By focusing on children, this publication provides guidance on the central role that urban planning should play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), from a global perspective to a local context, by creating thriving and equitable cities where children live in healthy, safe, inclusive, green and prosperous communities.
Why planning cities for children matters Analysis of the main urban contexts shows that urbanization does not necessarily
induce sustainable urban environments for children. Firstly, the total numbers of slum dwellers have grown to 880 million, despite efforts to upgrade slums. An estimated 300 million of the global population of slum dwellers are children, who suffer from multiple deprivations, live without a voice and have no access to land, housing and services. Secondly, without investment in planning, urban expansion mostly occurs in a fragmented way, with limited centrality, a lack of public space and no compactness in urban form. For children, it means unhealthy and unsafe environments, limited options for walking and playing, limited connectivity to social networks, services and local economy.
Thirdly, existing urban areas are responsible for proportionally higher energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, thereby putting stress on the environment and the cities themselves. Improved use of urban resource systems necessitates innovation in terms of energy efficiency, and in forging sustainable lifestyles. As children’s behaviour is moulded by their ongoing interaction with the urban environment, children’s participation in shaping sustainable cities will be a
determinant for the future of our cities and for our planet.
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.