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The main themes for the 8th Child in the City conference are:

1. Child Friendly Policies

More and more cities are developing sustainable, crosscutting policies for children; but to be effective they require a serious, long-term commitment. What are the specific plans and strategies that lead to genuinely child-friendly cities? What capacity needs to be built? Which partners engaged, budgets and time allocated; what tools developed? And what research can be undertaken to establish how these policies can be best monitored, evaluated and developed?

2. The position of children in the city

How do children and young people on the one hand, and local authorities on the other, perceive each other? Can this interaction support and further develop the identity of children and young people? How can it strengthen their sense of belonging to their quarter, district, city, country and the EU; in other words, their citizenship?

3. Children and the built environment

A physical environment that supports and engages children and young people is about much more than play areas. How can the built urban environment be most effectively child-friendly, youth-oriented and intergenerational? Cityscapes have a profound influence on people’s individual and collective health and well-being. What are the principles and processes that make this influence positive for children and young people?

Through these themes, we also want to pay special attention to the future: what are the next steps in the evolution of the child-friendly city?

4. Refugee and immigrant children and young people in cities and municipalities

Europe is currently faced with a large number of refugee and migrant arrivals, largely from the Middle East. Families, forced from their homes by war and economic deprivation, travel in perilous conditions, over long distances, until they reach their destination somewhere in Europe. The refugees include many children, and there are also increasing numbers of children and young people orphaned or separated from their families.

At this time, and over the coming period, which many observers are calling a crisis, there is considerable pressure on Europe’s towns and cities to find an adequate response in their reception of these vulnerable children and young people and how to facilitate the key, long-term challenge of their ‘integration’ into the community.

Child in the City 2016 will include an exchange of experience and debate on how Europe’s towns and cities are responding to this most vital and urgent of challenges.