Pre-Organised Special Sessions

To be competed with more special sessions soon...

Prof. Fyllio Katsavounidou

Title: "Children’s wellbeing and urban sustainability: Design, Planning and Policies for children-friendly cities".



Prof. Fyllio Katsavounidou

Department of Spatial Planning and Development

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki 



The relationship between children and the city is critical for both. Not only do different built environments shape different childhoods, but child-friendliness is a sign of overall city quality.

Cities provide the context that defines how children (and their families) experience everyday life. Physical design of public space, planning decisions and municipal policies all determine crucial aspects of children’s wellbeing, from affordances of play areas to safe routes to school.

The discussion about children as users of the city is even more urgent at this moment, since the experience of the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic has showed very vividly how important public urban spaces are all citizens, and particularly for children. The closing down of play-spaces brought about the realization that urban space needs to be reshaped giving children equal share.

Streets, sidewalks, public spaces are the “fourth environment” for kids growing up and should be designed as such. In many cities around the world, emergency responses to the pandemic have included giving priority to children as users of open spaces. Indeed, the pandemic has made visible the importance of designing urban neighborhoods, in their entirety, with children in mind, and not only spaces specifically designed for children.

This session aims at putting to the foreground a fundamental set of questions for sustainable and inclusive cities:

  • How children experience the city?
  • How safely and independently can they get around?
  • Where can children play and gather? What is the role of play in the city?
  • Are their needs and opinions taken into account in urban design? How can children participate in the design process?
  • How cities can ‘use’ children to their benefit to become more livable for all?




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