It probably comes as no surprise that our urban spaces are set up with industry in mind. Getting workers from one place to another is what keeps a city profitable, but what about its youngest inhabitants? We’ve been hearing about an inspiring project to empathise with these users from Child in the City, an independent foundation hosted by ten European cities, including London.

Urban planners are being encouraged to utilise a set of  ‘empathy tools‘ aimed at helping them design child-friendly environments.

It’s one of the latest initiatives developed by the Urban95 arm of the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF), which works globally to improve the lives of children in cities.

Patrin Watanatada of Urban95 says that ‘everything starts with empathy and data’, and that one of the first challenges is that urban planners ‘don’t necessarily see or think about the particular needs of young children and caregivers in their work’.

everything starts with empathy and data

Patrin Watanatada, Urban95

In a blog for the foundation, Patrin, the foundation’s Knowledge for Policy Director, adds: “Public spaces and playgrounds are often set up for older kids or adults – transportation tends to be planned for the needs of peak-hour commuters travelling straightforwardly from home to work to home, versus the needs of caregivers who might be going from home to childcare to grocery store to job and back at odd times. So developing empathy for this demographic group is an important first step.

Continue reading this article on Child in the City.

Posted by:Sophie Sabin

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