6 Ways to Ensure Equitable Cities for Children

A city that fosters the mental and physical health of children is safer for everyone. Six key planning and design considerations promote the well-being of the city's youngest residents.

September 14, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery


Kids

Alinute Silzeviciute / Shutterstock

We can use urban planning and design to better protect children. "It’s estimated that up to 500 children die daily in road crashes around the world; thousands more incur injuries and psychological trauma from collisions with vehicles that can affect them for years," write Nikita Luke, Rohit Tak, Ariadne Samios, and Claudia Adriazola-Steil. 

Their article offers six ways cities can change the lives of kids for the better—ideas that go beyond adding playgrounds and aims to consider children's needs in decisionmaking processes regarding public policy. 

The six improvements identified by the authors promote enhanced mental and physical health in young people: increase accessible green space, ensure safe pedestrian infrastructure, implement low-speed zones, include car-free streets, consider size, and create clean air zones. 

But the benefits experienced by children would also be felt by adults. The article quotes Mayor Enrique Peñalosa of Bogotá in describing children as "a kind of indicator species." If urban planners and designers are able to build a city that promotes success for kids, everyone will experience success in cities. 

"As cities and national governments reset after the coronavirus and ponder investments that will hasten a return to economic and social vibrance, incorporating the unique perspectives of children can help create more inclusive, healthier, livable cities. It’s time for cities to start thinking proactively and long-term about how best to serve all residents, including their youngest" write the authors. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020 in TheCityFix

Street-level view of sharrow symbol on asphalt with parked car in background

How Sharrows Became Cycling’s Most Hated Symbol

Originally designed as a low-cost way to encourage safer road sharing between bikes and cars, the sharrow has become a symbol of the lack of commitment to protected bike infrastructure in many cities.

August 2, 2022 - Denverite

A image of the World's Columbian Exposition overlayed with a picture of Keanu Reeves in the rain from the movie Point Break.

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

View from middle of street in downtown Telluride, Colorado with mountains in background

Marrying Urban Identity and Economic Prosperity

A new book posits that truly successful communities have a strong economic base and a firmly rooted sense of place.

August 5, 2022 - Governing

Rendering of downtown Milwaukee sports stadium with soccer field

Sports Stadiums Bring Few Economic Benefits

While their developers often tout jobs and local economic development as benefits of major stadium projects, research shows these venues often make little impact on local economies.

58 minutes ago - Urban Milwaukee

Dallas Freeways

A How-To for ‘Freeway Fighters’

Ten recommendations for effective freeway removal advocacy.

1 hour ago - Strong Towns

Rendering of elevated rail ine

Miami Rapid Transit Project Moves Forward

The county completed the draft environmental impact study for a monorail and people mover planned as part of its rapid transit system.

2 hours ago - The Next Miami

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.