Child in the City international seminar 'Children in the sustainable city'


Welcome to the third Child in the City International Seminar that takes place in Antwerpen, Belgium on 20-21 May 2019. The main theme of this seminar is Children in the sustainable city. This is a joint project of the Child in the City Foundation and the City of Antwerp.

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The Child in the City International Seminar’s bringing together experts and policymakers from different relevant fields around a specific theme of the child-friendly city agenda. 

The Child in the City International Seminar are tailored to the specific needs of a city and therefore focused on one specific theme. 


The main theme of this international seminar is Children in the sustainable city.

Children are constructed as both the future at risk and the future solution for sustainable living. Cities all over the world are developing policies to make the urban environment more sustainable. At the same time global initiatives to make cities more child-friendly are increasingly important. We think this is the strategic moment to integrate sustainability with child-friendliness. Building sustainable cities should not only offer technical innovations but has social, economic and ecological dimensions as well.

A broad definition of sustainability should include children in at least two ways. First by designing policies that incorporate children’s needs: making sustainable solutions accessible to children. And secondly by giving children a voice – through educational programs – in creating sustainable policies. The aim of this seminar is to bring together expertise from both the disciplines of sustainability and urban childhood. How can we connect those fields in a way that both strengthens sustainable cities and children’s position in cities?

Within the overall theme of the seminar we want to address the following six subthemes:

  • Resilient public space: water and green
  • Urban planning: renewal and densification
  • Sustainable mobility
  • Placemaking and co-creation
  • Healthy public space
  • Inclusion and participation of children and youth

If you are interested in; presenting or organising a roundtable discussion on one or more of the mentioned topics you are invited to submit an abstract of with a maximum of 300 words before 18th of February 2019.

The Scientific Committee will access all submissions and provide feedback on submission on or before March 4, 2019.

Papers should contain:

  • A maximum of 300 words
  • The abstract must be clearly written in English
  • Relate to one or more of the seminar’s six sub-themes
  •  A clear link to child-friendliness and/or sustainability.

Submit my abstract


Whatever is on your city-trip checklist, Antwerp can offer it. The city is full of surprising highlights, discover them all during your stay in Antwerp. Locals proudly refer to their city as cosmopolitan with a village atmosphere: you can find everything here, but always within walking, or at least cycling, distance (for which the Antwerp city bikes are available).

In the Antwerp skyline, the Cathedral of Our Lady takes pride of place: it is the highest church spire in the Low Lands and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Quite a feat for a building with just one finished spire. A little further up, MAS| Museum aan de Stroom stands out: in this Museum at the River, the most beautiful work of art may well be the view. From the 60-metre high roof top, you can admire the whole city.

The city itself is also easy to reach. If you want a piece of advice: come by train. The majestic Antwerp Central railway station has won many beauty prizes … something that may dull the pain to some extent when the time comes to leave the city.

Scientific Programme Committee

The Scientific Programme Committee for the third Child in the City International Seminar in Antwerp will ensure the review and preparation of a high-quality programme with a variety of speakers:

Lia Karsten
Lia Karsten
Lia Karsten (MSc/ Ph.D.) is President of the Child in the City Scientific Committee and an associate professor of Urban Geographies at the University of Amsterdam. She is an internationally recognized expert in the field of urban childhood, changing family life and the use of urban public space. She has published several books and many papers…
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Wim Seghers
Wim Seghers
Wim Seghers is an expert on play space policy, City of Antwerp, Belgium. Wim works already more then 10 years as an expert on play space policy for the city of Antwerp. He has retrained himself as a socio-cultural worker to the themes of playspace, child friendly public space/planning and sustainable mobility. He guides the…
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Irene Quintáns
Irene Quintáns
Irene Quintáns worked in the Barcelona City Council and in the SEHAB – Municipal Housing Secretariat in São Paulo. As a consultant she works in urban projects, highlighting her role at Bernard van Leer Foundation developing Urban95 strategy in Latin-America (2016-18). Executive Leadership Program on Early Childhood Development (Harvard University). She is the founder and director of…
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Carlo Fabian
Carlo Fabian
Prof. Carlo Fabian is a social and health psychologist, coach and organizational developer. He is a Senior Researcher & Lecturer with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland – School of Social Work. His research and development work focuses on neighbourhood and urban development, participation, health promotion and prevention, childhood and youth, age and…
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Froukje Hajer
Froukje Hajer
Froukje Hajer worked for 30 years in the field of non formal education and leisure time and the right of the child to play. Play- and youth work, extended schoolday programmes, community schools, and public space and a child-friendly environment are subjects of her interest. She realised local and national and local projects. She is…
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Sven De Visscher
Sven De Visscher
Sven De Visscher is a lecturer in social work at University College Ghent in Belgium. He is part of the urban education team in the department of social work that develops research and teaching projects about education and social work in urbanising contexts. Sven holds a PhD degree in Educational Sciences (Ghent Uni) since 2008,…
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Child in the City is an independent foundation. The main objectives of the Child in the City Foundation is to strengthen the position of children in cities, promote and protect their rights and give them space and opportunities to play and enjoy their own social and cultural lives. We do this by providing communications platforms for academics, practitioners and campaigners for children’s rights to disseminate research and good practice. 

The foundation observes 5 general guidelines and encourages national and local networks to translate these into specific local policies addressing local points of focus. The general guidelines are an holistic, integral and intergenerational approach; the importance of participation for children and young people; and dynamic trade and continuous challenge.