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:

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

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