The City of Changsha is China’s first child friendly city
The City of Changsha with support from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy is the first city in China to include child-friendly initiatives in their city planning.
The City of Changsha in Central China is redesigning their city so it is a safe and sustainable environment for children. Over 18 thousand children (under the age of fourteen) die in traffic accidents in China every year. This staggering number is 2.5 times the number in Europe and 2.6 times higher than the United States. Other Chinese cities are expected to follow Changsha’s example as the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy plans to work with national institutions to develop a national Child-Friendly Cities guideline.
Research and implementation
Creating Children Friendly Cities (CFC) is not only about carving out space for children to grow and play in urban environments, it is also about policy and laws. Cities must be committed to protecting the rights and needs of children at a community and municipal level.
In the West, an analysis of children and their urban spatial relationship started in the 1920s, and developing Child-Friendly Cities (CFC) began in the 1990s according to a 2017 research paper. Currently, there are about 100 million urban children in China and now cities in China are asking how to they can build child-friendly cities.
The case of Changsha
Up and until the end of 2014 there were no local urban planning laws and regulations focusing on ensuring and protecting space for children in Changsha. Thereafter, the Changsha Urban Planning Bureau included a Child-Friendly City initiative into their 2050 Long-term Development Plan. Since then they have begun to launch a series of improvement projects such as; walking spaces, traffic organization for peak hours, sign integration, and “public spaces around schools, aiming to establish a better environment for children’s studying, living and playing.”
The image below showcases one of the executed projects.
In recognition of Changsha’s efforts, the city was awarded China’s CFC Community Service Project Award for 2017 by the China Child-friendly Community Work Committee.