GDCI’s Streets for Kids selects the 10 cities to get ‘next level’ support


The Global Designing Streets Initiative (GDCI), a project designed to bring about real positive change for children in cities, has unveiled the 10 cities that will get ‘next level’ support to bring their ideas to reality.

Spread across every corner of the world, these cities – all of which were part of the original 2022 Streets for Kids Leadership Accelerator group – will get hands-on support from a team of experts skilled in improving urban infrastructures.

Sky Duncan, Executive Director of GDCI, said that more and more cities were realising the need to plan for, design and implement the concept of ‘Streets for Kids’. “We are thrilled that this year’s 10 selected cities have shown that they are thinking strategically about this work and have the political courage and leadership to make it a reality,” she said.

The cities are:

  • Abuja, Nigeria
  • Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Leon, Mexico
  • Lima, Peru
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Recife, Brazil
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Solo, Indonesia
  • Tyre, Lebanon

Every city will receive up to $20,000 US Dollars, plus vital technical assistance from GDCI’s Streets for Kids team. The aim is to help improve the lives of kids in cities by inspiring leaders, informing practitioners, and empowering communities to understand cities through the lens of children and their caregivers and to take action on their streets to ensure a cleaner, healthier, and safer future.

Abuja is launching a comprehensive campaign to raise awareness and advocate for safer cycling conditions for kids. The initiative will include a series of open streets events, stakeholder workshops, and infrastructure enhancements to promote safe and accessible cycling for children.

Cuenca has taken on the task of transforming a street near an early childhood school (ages 0-5) located in a rapidly densifying neighborhood. The project will emphasize speed reduction, as well as connecting the school to a nearby park. With a strong focus on monitoring and evaluation, this intervention has the potential to scale up into a city-wide school street program.

Istanbul will transform a street near a primary school into a safe walking environment for children and create more opportunities for play through better connections to an existing open space.

Leon aims to promote active travel and connect DIF after-school clubs with their urban surroundings in a way that benefits the entire community. By creating safe and accessible pathways, the project will encourage students to walk or bike to their after-school clubs, which are often located in under-resourced neighborhoods. The project also aims to enhance the urban environment by creating vibrant public spaces around the clubs that can be enjoyed by the wider community.

Lima will revamp an intersection adjacent to an elementary school in the heart of the city’s historic centre. The school is a participant in the “Safe Paths to School” program, which aims to encourage safe and active travel for school children through physical interventions and educational initiatives. The redesigned intersection will provide a safer and more accessible route for students and promote healthier travel options for the wider community.

Lusaka is committed to enhancing the safety and accessibility of the street near a historic landmark and school. The Zambia Road Safety Trust has already organized five successful car-free days to demonstrate the benefits of people-first design, which prioritizes pedestrian safety and well-being. This project builds on those past successes and aims to further improve the area’s safety and accessibility.

Recife will make a lasting impact by permanently transforming an unpaved street to improve the safety and comfort of students and caregivers walking to school, and activate an underutilized open green space to provide more play opportunities for a low-income community in the outskirts of the city.

Santiago will trial an interim street design intervention to improve walking and cycling conditions for school children along a central commercial boulevard. The outcomes will guide future improvements at the site.

Solo will create a safer and more attractive walking route near a junior high school that accommodates kids, caregivers, and seniors informed by its youth-focused participatory process.

Finally, Tyre will introduce the ideas of safe and healthy streets through a series of activities, programs, workshops, and awareness sessions in collaboration with a local school in Tyre, culminating in a street design pilot on the school street. The city hopes this type of engagement and pilot project will change how residents perceive their streets and foster a call to action for the municipality.

“The Leadership Accelerator showed us that cities around the world are eager to make Streets for Kids,” said Anna Siprikova, Senior Program Manager of Streets for Kids. “In total 20 cities were part of the original Accelerator cohort and all of them are leading the way in rethinking their streets to be better for children and caregivers.”

The Streets for Kids program is supported by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, the FIA Foundation, and Fondation Botnar.

Author: Simon Weedy

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