Creating a Child-Friendly Neighborhood

Iranian Schoolchildren Talk about Desirable and Undesirable Elements in Their Neighborhoods


  • Bahar Manouchehri La Trobe University
  • Edgar Burns University of Waikato
  • Julie Rudner La Trobe University
  • Sina Davoudi Tarbiat Modares University


child-friendly neighborhood, children’s views, children’s participation, Iranian cities, urban planning


Iranian children live in city neighborhoods often rated poorly in terms of child-friendly indicators. Children’s voices expressing priorities, needs, and desires for improving their neighborhoods are given little attention by urban planners. This research investigated schoolchildren’s views of favorable and unfavorable attributes of their neighborhood environments. The top three desirable neighborhood features children identified were: participation, access to green areas and the natural environment; and quality of built environments and public urban spaces. These results can broaden planners’ perspectives for creating child-friendly local environments. Considering children’s ideas like this would help to mainstream better urban policies in Iran.

Author Biographies

Bahar Manouchehri, La Trobe University

Bahar Manouchehri worked as an urban planner for many years in Iran. She recently completed her Ph.D. in community planning and development in Melbourne, Australia, researching the position of children within the Iranian planning system from the perspectives of both children and planners. She has experiences in child-friendly cities research, collaborative planning, and citizens’ engagement, particularly how to integrate marginalized groups in planning debate.

Edgar Burns, University of Waikato

Edgar Burns works as an environmental sociologist, examining social and personal factors motivating land owners and communities to adopt sustainable water and land practices. His previous research has studied professions and professionalism. He writes on tertiary teaching and communication and recently published Theorizing Professions with Palgrave Macmillan.


Julie Rudner, La Trobe University

Julie Rudner teaches planning. She explores interactions between policy, place and people, focusing on how children, young people and people from different ethno-cultural and religious backgrounds use, view and experience their environments. She is interested in how we create “public knowing” of risk, safety and belonging that encourages or limits people’s freedom to use public space.

Sina Davoudi, Tarbiat Modares University

Sina Davoudi is a transport planner. His research focused on the mode choice model for elementary school student trips and investigating the role of environmental, socioeconomic and social cognition parameters affecting children’s transportation mode used in their daily educational journeys in Iran