Mayor of Ghent

‘The future of Europe will be created in cities by our children and young adults, therefore, cities need to be child friendly! The City of Ghent truly understands this need.’

Daniël Termont
City of Ghent Mayor

Welcome to the 8th edition of the Child in the City Conference in Ghent

The 8th Child in the City conference will be held between 7 – 9 November 2016 at the KASK School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. This international event is a joint project of the Child in the City Foundation and the European Network of Child Friendly Cities (ENCFC). Child in the City 2016 has the full support of our host, the city of Ghent. Read more >>

Download Conference Programme Register now

The conference, which takes place every two years, is a key opportunity for children’s professionals, city planners, geographers and policy makers to share knowledge, good practice and research findings from the various disciplines that are important to the shared aim of creating child-friendly cities.

The speakers:

Helen Woolley, Reader (Assoc. Prof), Landscape Architecture and Society, University of Sheffield, UK
Carme Montserrat, Professor, University of Girona, Spain
Fanny Claeys, Co-worker Youth Area Policy and Green and Adventurous School Playgrounds (GRAS), Belgium
Jeanette Fich Jespersen, International Manager, KOMPAN Play Institute, Denmark
Anneleen Schelstraete, public relations and manages activities for children and young adults, public library, Ghent, Belgium
Johan Meire, Researcher, Kind & Samenleving, Belgium
Tim Gill, Owner, Rethinking Childhood, UK
Tine Rommens, Staff member, Kind en Gezin, Belgium
Wim Seghers, expert on play space policy, City of Antwerp, Belgium
Jenny Wood, PhD Researcher, Heriot-Watt University, UK
Rita Passemiers, City Ghent - Public Advocate Services, Belgium
Francis Vaningelgem, Urban Planner - Researcher, Childhood & Society Research Centre, Belgium
Mirjana Petrik, Architect, Researcher, Project Leader, Faculty of Architecture, CTU, Czech Republic
Karen Benjamin, Senior Lecturer, University of Gloucestershire, UK
Lech Schelfout, Project Coordinator AMIF project, Atlas, Belgium
Krisztina Emrich, Playground Designer, MagikMe, UK
Lien Snoeck, Consultant, City Ghent Youth Service, Belgium
Caroline Claus, Expert Youth Participation & Urban Development, Belgium
Isami Kinoshita, Professor, PhD, Chiba University, Japan
Imke Pichal, Staff member, VVJ, Belgium
Sien Wollaert, Project Officer, De Ambrassade, Belgium
Lucia Nucci, Associate Professor in Urban Design, University of Roma Tre, Italy
Els Van den Broeck, Project manager Research and development, Mobiel 21, Belgium
Sebla Arin, Assist. Prof. Dr., Member of Executive Committee, BOU/ NKK, Istanbul
Jing Jing, Architect SAR/MSA Project Manager, Arken SE Arkitekter, China
Nicola Butler, Director, Hackney Play Association, UK
Ilaria Salvadori, Manager, Pavement to Parks, City Design Group, San Francisco Planning Department, USA
Wolfgang Pfeifer, CEO, Kinderbüro - Die Lobby für Menschen bis 14, Austria
Raf Canters, Teamleader Education & Training, Mobiel 21 vzw | Traffic Snake Game Network, Belgium
David Ball, Professor of Risk Management, Middlesex University, UK
Tanny Stobart, Director, Play Torbay, UK
Simon Atkinson, Professor, University of Texas, US
Greet De Lathauwer, Education, STAM - Ghent City Museum, Belgium
Laura McDonald, Health Development Officer, Belfast Healthy Cities, UK
Jodi Mak, Senior Researcher, Verwey-Jonker Institute, NL
Pippa Rowcliffe, Deputy Director, Human Early Learning Partnership, Canada
Nickey de Haan, Project Officer and Researcher, Stichting Alexander, NL
Marianne Labre, program-director 'Ghent, child & youth friendly city', Youth Service Ghent, Belgium
Ayşenur Baş, Undergraduate Student, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Turkey
Martin Damphousse, President, Carrefour action municipality & family, Canada
Toko Uchida, Associate Professor, Toyo University, Japan
Lina Kusaite, Freelancer, Independent at Cocoon Characters, Belgium
Osamu Sakuma, Professor & Architect, Kyushu of Technology Graduate School, Japan
Katja Hausleitner, Project Manager in the fields of Housing, Urbanism and Mobility, Kinderbüro - Die Lobby für Menschen bis 14, Austria
Marjan Ketner, Designer, Speelwijk, NL
Johanna France, Staff member, wienXtra-spielebox, Austria
Abdelfattah Ezzine, Research Professor, Universitary Institute of Scientific Research, Morocco
Rick Worch, Associate Professor, Bowling Green State University, USA
Kathleen Van de Kerckhove, Coordinates the Taskforce on Refugees, Belgium
Katarina Gustafson, Associate Professor, Department of Education, Uppsala University, Sweden
Helen van Gorkum-Davidson, Implementation Manager, Richmond Children First, Canada
Froukje Hajer, Independent Consultant Youth Policy and Children's Rights, Belgium
Petra Völkl, expert, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Austria
Eva Vandevivere, Social Welfare, Psychological Services, Belgium
Adrian Voce, Consultant on Play Policy, UK
Zeno Steuri, Coach for Youth and Family, KJF Liestal Jugend social work, KinderKraftWerk, Switzerland
Giovana Armano, Paediatrician, Union of Society
Rob Gilsing, Research Manager Youth & Education, Verwey-Jonker Institute, NL
Karen Claes, Staff member Mechelen Child Friendly City, Belgium
Nuha Eltinay, Director of Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI), Saudi Arabia
Yucel Severcan, Assistant Professor, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
Wouter Vanderstede, Researcher and staff member, Childhood & Society Research Centre - Kind & Samenleving vzw, Belgium
Wulan Suci Sakti Rony, General Practitioner, Tarempa Community Health Center, Indonesia
Marguerite Hunter Blair, Chief Executive, Play Scotland, UK
Keith McAllister, Lecturer in Architecture, Queen's University Belfast, Ireland
Felix Bentlin, PhD Candidate, Lecturer and Researcher, Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, Technical University Berlin, Germany
Danielle van Kalmthout, Policy Officer, Policy Research Department of the Flemish League of Families, Belgium
Jan van Gils, ENCFC, NL
Malou Durve, Project Manager, Jantje Beton, NL
Danielle van der Burgt, Senior Lecturer, Uppsala University, Sweden
Marjan Verboeket, Designer, Speelwijk, NL
Ine Bosmans, Expert Education & Campaigns, Mobiel 21 vzw | Safety Tunes, Belgium
Märit Jansson, senior lecturer, SLU, Denmark
Josip Grgurić, Pediatrician, Central Coordinating Committee of the “Towns and Districts – Friends of Children” Action, Croatia
Tanja Joelsson, Postdoctoral Researcher at Department of Education, Uppsala University, Sweden
Margaret Kernan, Team Leader Early Years, International Child Development Initiatives, NL
Marc-André Plante, Genera Director, Carrefour action municipality & family, Canada
Thibalt Bonte, Consultant, City Ghent Youth Service, Belgium
Bahar Aksel, Assistant Professor, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Faculty of Architecture, Turkey
Trudi Nederland, Senior Researcher, Verwey-Jonker Institute, NL
Kathleen Van de Kerckhove, Coordinates the Taskforce on Refugees for the city of Ghent, Belgium
Margriet Wiersma, Project Officer and Researcher, Stichting Alexander, NL
Marieke De Munck, Artistic coordinator, Wildemannen Woestewijven, Belgium
Hannes Vanmeenen, Program Manager child- and youth-friendly city, Belgium
Hanne Daniels, Youth Worker and Educator, Jong Gent in Actie and Uit de Marge vzw, Belgium
Nina Lieske, Research Assistant, University of Siegen; Center for Socio-Scientific Educational Research, Germany
Ana-Maria Patroi, Architect, Arcadia Engineering, Romania
Andy Lloyd, Head of Children's Workforce Development, Leeds Children's Services, UK
Tunc Soyer, Mayor, Seferihisar Municipality, Turkey
Rusda Mahmud, Youth Empowerment and Child Friendly District, National Freedom of Banteng Party, Indonesia
Kadriye Akdemir, Art Specialist Teacher, Bilkent Laboratory and International School, Turkey
Frosso Motti-Stefanidi, Professor of Psychology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, Member of the Governing Council of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), USA
Annie Lens, Project Coordinator on Cultural Education, Culture service, Belgium
Samir Bakhat, Artistic Director, Rhythm Naturals, Belgium
Annelies Vaneycken, PhD student, HDK Academy of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Hanne Lahousse, Urban Policy Dept. - Policy Advisor, Flemish Government, Belgium
Patrick Manghelinckx, Director, JES Youth and City, Belgium
Nia Zulhadji, Individual Consultant, Child Protection Activist, Indonesia
Dr. Sven De Visscher, lecturer and researcher of social pedagogy and social work, Belgium
Raf Verbruggen, Policy worker, De Ambrassade, Belgium
Lia Karsten, Professor in Urban Geographies at the University of Amsterdam, NL
Anne Koning, Chairman, Branch organisation Play & Movement (
Claire Edwards, In transition, Leeds Beckett University to relocation in Sydney, Australia
Samet Akboğa, Seferihisar Municipality, Turkey
Dajana Rokvic, Master of Science, Architecture, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
Bruno Amaral de Andrade, PhD. Candidate and Researcher, Federal University of Minas Gerais, UFMG, Brazil
Ruth Parker, PhD Student, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, UK
Marjan Moris, PhD Researcher, Social Geography, Leuven University, Belgium
Ellen Weaver, Associate, Freiburg Institute for Applied Sociology (FIFAS), Germany
Sruthi Atmakur-Javdekar, Research Associate & Project Co-director, Children's Environments Research Group, India
Carlo Fabian, Senior Researcher, Project Leader and Lecturer, University of Applied Sciences and Arts (FHNW), Switzerland
Elske Oost-Mulder, Rural and Urban Planner, OBB Engineering Agency, NL
Marianne Mannello, Assistant Director: Policy, Support and Advocacy, Play Wales, UK
Adriana Cordeiro, Assistant Professor, University of Pernambuco (UPE), Brazil

Meet the conference speakers and hear from practitioners with expert knowledge in the focus area of child friendly cities. We are looking forward to meeting you in Ghent in November!



‘There is no more efficient approach to children’s rights like in the local communities and governments.’

Jan van Gils
European Network Child Friendly Cities (ENCFC)

The conference will begin on Monday 7th November with a plenary session, and will finish on Wednesday 9th November in the afternoon. Several parallel sessions and interactive workshops will be held over the event’s three days. As well as the usual presentations, the conference will also offer interactive workshops. 

There will be visits and discussions based on the practical experience of projects in Ghent. Small workshops will be organised around the main conference themes, where the focus will be on interactive discussions.

Conference themes

The themes for this year’s conference are:

  1. Child Friendly Policies
  2. The position of children in the city
  3. Children and the built environment
  4. Refugee and immigrant children and young people in cities and municipalities

Through these themes, we also want to pay special attention to the future: what are the next steps in the evolution of the child-friendly city?

Please click on the button below to download the full Child in the City Conference Programme:

Download Conference Program

Field trips

You can also look forward to a cocktail reception, hosted by the Mayor of Ghent and a conference dinner to network with other delegates. Before and after the conference there will be optional trips to places of interest within the beautiful historical city of Ghent. Visit our field trips page to learn more.

The Child in the City Foundation


‘Are children getting their space and playing opportunities in cities? Child in the City is giving insight on the latest research and experiences worldwide’

Johan Haarhuis
Child in the City Foundation

Child in the City is organised to enable social scientists, researchers, practitioners, politicians and city planners from all over the world to share their thoughts and develop new ideas to meet the needs of children in modern cities. Host cities have included Bruges, Stuttgart, London, Rotterdam, Florence, Zagreb and Odense. 

We have a group of subject matter experts (children’s professionals, university lecturers, researchers, city planners) from all over the world, who write for us and share knowledge, good practice and research findings from the various disciplines that are important to the shared aim of creating child-friendly cities.

The main objectives of the Child in the City Foundation are to:

We do this by providing communications platforms for academics, practitioners and campaigners for children’s rights to disseminate research and good practice.

The city of Ghent


‘Need more information about our location? Call us and we will help you save time’

Marketa Vesela
Project Manager
Child in the City
T: +31 (06) 38 145 133

The city of Ghent breathes history but is also brimming with culture and modern city life. The city is one of Europe’s greatest discoveries – small enough to feel cosy but nice enough to stay vibrant. It has enough medieval frivolity to create a spectacle but retains a gritty industrial edge that keeps things ‘real’.

The mayor of Ghent, Daniël Termont welcomes you to the 8th Child in the City Conference: 

Ghent has many options for travel and accommodation during the Child in the City Conference. Choose the one that works best for your individual needs.

The city offers fabulous canal side architecture and some of Belgium’s most fascinating museums.

Who should attend?

Who should attend:

  • Children’s rights advocates
  • National, regional and local authority officers
  • Youth and play workers
  • Planners
  • Urban designers
  • Children’s geographers
  • Playground designers and producers
  • Highways and traffic managers
  • Sustainability champions
  • Public health campaigners
  • Researchers
  • University lecturers and students
  • UN officials
  • NGO representatives
  • Policy makers

Questions which will be discussed during the conference include:

  • What are the specific plans and strategies that lead to genuinely child-friendly cities?
  • What research can be undertaken to establish how these policies can be best monitored, evaluated and developed?
  • How can the interaction between children/young people and local authorities strengthen their sense of belonging as a citizen?
  • How can the built urban environment be most effectively child-friendly, youth oriented and intergenerational?

Why join the Child in the City Conference?

  • You will be part of an international gathering for research and good practice in creating child friendly cities
  • All major practitioners, local politicians and academics will come together to discuss the rights and wellbeing of children throughout Europe and beyond
  • Child in the City Conference is one of the leading events on the latest child friendly policies and research studies.
  • There will be a networking exhibition room where top researchers and scientists will display their projects on a poster presentation
  • Professional speakers from all over the world will be speaking about child friendly cities.

Conference Brochure Register now