GIS-based intelligent planning approach of child-friendly pedestrian pathway to promote a child-friendly city

By Wpcpey - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Pedestrian safety, particularly for children, relies on well-designed pathways, and child-friendly pathways play a crucial role in safeguarding young pedestrians.

Shared spaces accommodating both vehicles and walkers can bring benefits to pedestrians. However, active children playing near these pathways are prone to accidents. This research aims to develop an efficient method for planning child-friendly pedestrian pathways, taking into account community development and the specific needs of children.

A mixed-methods approach was employed, utilising the Datang community in Guangzhou, China, as a case study. This approach combined drawing techniques with GIS data analysis. Drawing methods were utilized to identify points of interest for children aged 2–6. The qualitative and quantitative fuzzy analytic hierarchy process assessed factors influencing pathway planning, assigning appropriate weights.

With 18 per cent of China’s population under the age of 14, children constitute a significant demographic segment. However, many Chinese metropolitan areas, characterised by expansive low-density urban landscapes and auto-dependent transit systems, lack adequate provisions for children. Recognising this deficiency, there is an imperative to initiate child-friendly planning and research.

There is an imperative to initiate child-friendly planning and research

The concept of a child-friendly city, inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, aligns seamlessly with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3 and 16. SDG3 addresses crucial child health issues, while SDG16 aims to create inclusive societies with equal access to justice. Ensuring children’s well-being involves protection, a secure environment, and access to essentials, harmonizing with both SDG’s objectives.

Children’s unique requirements are frequently disregarded in the setting of fast urban growth and high-rise constructions, which leaves a shortage of basic amenities and open spaces. Smaller families and changing demographics underscore the need for adaptive infrastructure prioritizing children’s needs.

Public health experts emphasize the pivotal role of social spaces, highlighting informal areas like pocket parks as popular playgrounds for children. The quality of these spaces significantly influences children’s well-being. Access to play areas, independence, and parenting norms crucially determine children’s attraction to community play spaces. Establishing connections between these spaces is a key strategy for fostering children’s well-being.

The weighted superposition analysis method constructed a comprehensive cost grid, considering various community elements. To streamline the planning process, a GIS tool was developed based on the identified factors, resulting in a practical, child-friendly pedestrian pathway network.

Results indicate that this method efficiently creates child-friendly pathways, ensuring optimal connectivity within the planned road network.

This is an abridged version of a study published in the Nature scientific journal. The authors are Kailun Fang, Suzana Ariff Azizan and Huiming Huang. It is republished here under Creative Commons Licensing guidelines.

Click here for the full study. 

Author: Guest author

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.