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Child Friendly City helps children shape the future

UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative is calling young children to participate in the design of future urban centres.

Child Friendly City is a framework used to guide cities and local governments to include children’s rights in their goals, policies, programs and structures.

Dr Norman Gillespie, chief executive of UNICEF Australia, spoke about the program at University of South Australia’s de Lissa Oration event last week. He said half of the people in the world live in cities and that by 2050 that would increase to 70 per cent. Because of this, Gillespie said, it’s important for children to have a say in how they want society and urban development to look in the future.

“It’s really about including the voices of children and young people in planning,” Gillespie explained. “Planning in not just about the environment, but also how to build a stronger and more cohesive society.

“Listening to what children want is enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child,” Gillespie said in a statement. “By encouraging children to draw, design and make models of what they want from urban environments … it [becomes] clear they like an element of risk and adventure in those surroundings, which adults may not consider.”

Child Friendly City is being piloted in Australia by three council areas in South Australia – including Campbelltown, Gawler and Onkaparinga.

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