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Child in the City Conference Stuttgart, Germany

The third edition of the Child in the City conference was held in the Stuttgart’s City Hall, delegates from over 20 nationalities we present. Around 180 participants joined the 18 various workshops. Also the five round table discussions were visited with great interest as well as the excursions to some city farms and the Stuttgart West playgrounds. The Stuttgart Manifest was drawn up during the Child in the City conference. With this manifest all national networks and people that intend to start such a network, commit themselves to stimulating the cities in their countries to develop an actual child friendly policy.
This policy aimed to implement the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child and focused in particular on young people’s participation in all matters concerning their physical and social environment in cities. The Lord Mayor of Stuttgart, dr. Wolfgang Schuster, was the first person to sign the manifest on behalf of his city.

The Child in the City conference 2006 focused on children’s mobility. Both researchers and practitioners met each other and exchanged knowledge and experiences. Impressive were the many ways by which people offer children the possibility to think about and to contribute to their own mobility: children’s participation was a hot item. Also the presentations were challenging the national networks of child friendly cities. The way Switzerland is building its network differs strongly from the initiatives of Sweden and they are again different from the Netherlands and Belgium but they all developed their own strategy to stimulate other cities, exchange good practices and to learn.

One of the most exciting topics was “Children’s Autonomous Mobility”. It is clear that it is inherent in children’s process of growing up that they want to move autonomously. On the other side in this process children meet more and more obstacles. Caring parents worry about the dangerous traffic in the cities and they are often concerned about social safety. Because of this, parents hinder the children in their development. It takes a lot of discussions between children and parents before children are allowed to bike alone to school. But children are also quite clever tackling these parental concerns by asking them to bring them by car to the sport club.
Cities all over Europe search for solutions to offer children more opportunities to move safely and pleasantly in the streets. Good examples of child friendly public spaces were showed, but also illustrations of making public transport more accessible for children and young people and ideas about school pooling (transfers in a group toschool, by bike or walking) were shown.

CITC2006_Stuttgart City Hall
Stuttgart City Hall