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Child in the City international seminar 'Urban Planning and Children'

RotterdamThe Netherlands

How the communities where children and young people live respond to their needs and support their rights is one of the most important policy agendas of our time.

Adrian Voce OBE
President, European Network for Child Friendly Cities

The seminar will begin on Monday 19th June in the afternoon (13.00 p.m.) with a plenary session and keynote presentations from four eminent speakers from the urban planning field. Next, two parallel sessions and field trips will take place during the events’ two days. The programme will finish in the afternoon of Tuesday 20th June (16.30 p.m.). The programme will take place at the Rotterdam City Hall (day one)  and the Library Theatre (day two).

Meet all speakers

Day one – 19 June

Day two – 20 June

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Main theme

Child in the City is giving insight on the latest research and experiences worldwide

Johan Haarhuis
Child in the City Foundation

The main theme of this international seminar is: Urban Planning and Children. In his keynote address to the Child in the City conference in Ghent, 2016, the sociologist and urbanist, Sven de Visscher suggested five ambitions for the child friendly city: to recognise all children as fellow urban citizens; to offer equal chances to every child in the city; to involve children as co-researchers of city and urban life; to connect children’s life-worlds and the rest of the city; and to understand the child friendly city as the result of an on-going, shared and open learning process between different urban stakeholders.

This seminar will explore the evidence behind these ambitions and consider the policy and practice initiatives that can best progress them in the planning processes that shape children’s built environments.

Within the overall theme the seminar will look at how planning can:

  • create a more playable public realm for children;
  • support their independent mobility;
  • restore confidence in parents that their children are safe in the outside world;
  • build cohesive intergenerational community spaces; and
  • engender, in children, a sense of citizenship and belonging to the places where they live, play and go to school.

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Theme’s parallel sessions and field trips

The main theme is divided into two smaller theme’s for the parallel sessions and the field trips. Those theme’s are:

1: The right for children to be involved in urban planning
In principle, everyone is in favour of children’s rights. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been adopted by almost every county in the world; but does every government act accordingly? Article 12 of the CRC, obliges state parties to give children the opportunity to be heard in administrative proceedings affecting them. This includes urban planning; and not just for playgrounds.

Every project has its challenges to involve affected residents and businesses. Children, perhaps seen as a difficult to reach group, are frequently overlooked. But since they have the right to be heard, the onus is on planners to develop and adopt tools to involve them too. What are the most effective tools and processes for involving children of different ages in urban planning? What questions can we ask them? And which not?

More information about the content of the parallel session and the field trip will follow shortly.

2: Urban development from a family perspective
When moving into a new neighbourhood, one of the first things young parents do is check out the available schools in the area. For a family, schools are a big priority and good schools act like magnets.
Although a city is a mix of different lifestyles: students, different types of families, young professionals, early birds, night owls and more; a well-balanced city is created by making it child friendly: a city good for children is a city good for everyone.
So how do we transform unwelcoming places for children, into child and family friendly neighbourhoods? What is the role of local government and how can we use the magnetic function of schools in urban planning? How can we best turn schools into partners for change?

The link between the economic and social vitality of a city and the quality of its education offer is indisputable. The calibre of schools is an important influence on where people decide to live. Investment in communities, by improving neighbourhood schools and offering a wider selection of good schools, is a way to draw families to urban areas.

More information about the content of the parallel session and the field trip will follow shortly.

Conference brochure Register