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Photo: Inaê Brandão/G1 RR (via Bernard van Leer Foundation)

Urban95 partnership expands in Brazil

The Brazilian city of Boa Vista is the latest urban centre to embrace the Urban95 initiative, which asks planners and architects to experience cities through a child’s eyes.

Created by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Urban95’s ethos stems from the belief that when urban neighbourhoods work well for babies, toddlers and children, they in turn nurture a strong sense of community spirit, and promote economic development.

Public space

Teresa Surita, the Mayor Boa Vista, has just publicly launched Urban95 in the city, which is the capital of the Brazilian state of Roraima. The Bernard van Leer Foundation, which provides financial support and expertise for child-friendly projects, says the partnership will work on mobility and public space interventions. The ’95’ refers to 95 centimetres – the average height of a three-year-old child.

These will include the construction of urban furniture to encourage playful interactions between parents and caregivers. It will also develop cross-partnership early childhood indicators for inclusion in a ‘smart city’ public data platform currently being developed in Boa Vista.

Ideas for action

The foundation has been working in Brazil since the 1970s, most notably in São Paolo and most recently with the Fundaçao Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal and Harvard Center on the Developing Child to train leaders in early childhood.  It also has an online starter kit, designed to provide ideas for action for city planners, architects and all those involved in designing and redesigning child-friendly cities.

This month’s 9th Child in the City World Conference provides a forum for sharing experiences and good practice of child-friendly urban planning initiatives from across the world. It takes place in Vienna from September 24-26 and will cover themes such as children’s rights in urban development and regeneration, and mobility and access to the child-friendly city. View the full programme here and register here.

Author: Simon Weedy

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