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Child in the City Conference London, United Kingdom

The 2nd Child in the City Conference had a broad focus, exploring the complex and multifaceted dimensions and interrelationships of children’s lives, play and the city. It looked at children’s social and environmental needs as young citizens and how they could be integrated more efficiently into community and local governance processes.

One dimension included issues concerning environmental and social safety such as environmental hazards, street violence, traffic dangers, community safety and crime. Another is the quality of social environments and informal contexts for play exploration and learning that affect children’s well being.

At the same time the congress encouraged critical reflection on dilemmas and possibilities within the context of local governance and community processes, which were pivotal in creating child friendly cities.

Key questions included:

  • What needs to happen in policy and practice to effectively address issues affecting the well being of children in the city and how can integrated strategies contribute to the child friendliness of the cities?
  • What needs to happen to enhance the inclusion and participation of children in the every day life and affairs of their communities and can children themselves contribute to the meaningfulness of the cities?
  • What are the tensions and conflicts that need to be addressed between children and adults and between the agenda of communities and local officials?
  • What are the values and approaches necessary to underpin a spirit of social responsibility and commitment between children, communities and local authorities?
  • What are the dilemmas and possibilities of widening opportunities for children to play a more active and central role in developing, implementing and monitoring policy, program and practice initiatives?
  • What can safety norms contribute to the play worth of equipment?
  • What can intergenerational use of public space in the city do for the children?

Ultimately the congress seeked to identify guiding principles and practice for the realization of child friendly cities.