How Has the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative Promoted Public Spaces for Children?


  • Sudeshna Chatterjee


child-friendly cities, UNICEF, UN-Habitat, public spaces, independent mobility, child-responsive urban planning, child-friendly policies, child-friendly places


The Child-Friendly Cities Initiative was developed nearly 30 years ago to recognize cities for their work on improving the lives of urban children based on the rights of the child. There is considerable international interest in this initiative even today. However, many planners and built environment professionals feel the initiative has not done much to provide public spaces and independent mobility for children. This paper engages with such criticism and investigates the drivers and nature of public space interventions in recognized child-friendly cities in 24 countries and demonstrates how the initiative has promoted public spaces for children through policies, planning, and programming efforts