Every day of the year is a holiday in the child-friendly city

Celebrating April 23rd with the kids and making sure the day is spent in a festive mood is important, but for the remaining 364 days it is just as important as what we do.

The development of spatial awareness for children at different stages of development is a neglected but highly complex problem in today’s world where technology addiction has spread uncontrollably among children, the underlying dreaming ability of childhood is weakening and increasing due to childhood obesity and related disease inactivity.

For example, what are we doing to make cities child-friendly? Can we design and implement cities with clean air and water, where children can play and socialize in a healthy and safe way at their developing age, and where Turkey can easily access education and health rights in accordance with the UN Charter of Rights? Children, which Turkey has been a party since 1995?

In children’s development, their relationship with the city is as crucial as their relationship with their family and social environment. Memories of cities, sociological, historical and cultural collections in cities have a direct impact on the acquisition of children in urban culture; It strengthens their empathy and sense of kinship.

Children’s perceptions of the city’s structure, breadth, and cultural diversity can be quite decisive in developing a sense of belonging to the city and the society in which they live. It is necessary to make necessary arrangements so that he can play games in the city, benefit from disability-friendly roads and accommodation, easily participate in the cultural and artistic activities of the city, touch and feel the city, and no. Will be deprived of his basic rights.

For example, in the “Istanbul Ask Children” project, where 6,601 children across Istanbul participated and shared their views and expectations about Istanbul in early April, the children’s appreciation and criticism of the city they live in came from games, barometer applications. , And workshops.

After all, a quarter of Istanbul’s population is children and during this workshop “Why so few trees everywhere?“,”Make Istanbul more beautiful. Let the beach be free“,”Get free public transport until the age of 18“The contribution is invaluable.

Therefore, children should not face social, geographical, economic, physical and political discrimination in the context of urban space and when they do, these problems should be addressed on an urban scale with an egalitarian approach.

There should be no anger in the life of a disabled child as there is no ramp on the sidewalk. No child should be deprived of pre-school education as there are no free kindergartens around them. No child should be hospitalized for rusty, broken, unsafe toys on the playground. No child has to walk on the street without thinking about the safety of life as there are not enough sidewalks around.

Through the rights-based restructuring of cities in a way that is suitable for children, inspiration from the most successful examples at the international level and the proposal of participatory solutions need to re-influence that child’s breath into the air of the city.

According to UNICEF criteria, which has been conducting “child-friendly city initiatives” in more than 3,500 municipalities and 57 countries worldwide since 1996, a city has touched the lives of nearly 30 million children for being “child-friendly”; A number of concrete measures have been planned on an urban scale, ranging from raising social awareness of children’s rights, making roads and paths safer for children, helping low-income families in the fight against poverty, and encouraging girls to attend school.

To be a child-friendly city, children’s needs, priorities and rights become an integral part of urban policies, programs and decisions, where children create safe havens against violence, exploitation and discrimination, where they can live, play and socialize. In a safe and green environment.

In this context, children’s councils are also established to ensure the participation of children in decision-making processes on issues of their concern at the local level; As a result of the feedback provided by children in these councils, local action plans are created and projected.

In other words, nothing is “spoken”, it is enforced. Because there are also differences between managers; If cities fail to meet the needs of children, families will also move to other cities, which will have an economic and cultural impact on them.

On the other hand, it is a useful practice for all of us that children and youth see the needs of the city on their own scale and reflect the missing and flawed aspects and decision makers use this data as a framework for urban planning. , Design and management.

When children become a source of inspiration in the development and organization of cities, decisions about cities become much quicker and easier.

But it is also true that the more we criticize, the harder it is to change. Although it is relatively easy to successfully design a playground, designing an entire city as a playground is a much more complex goal.

If the whole world believed it, life would be a holidayWhen we say “, there are many instances where life is a holiday.

The initiative to create a child-friendly city was the main driving force behind the pedestrianization of the Albanian city of Tirana. Tirana Mayor Arian Velias has even appointed a special officer to assess the impact of current city policy on children.

Similarly, in the Belgian city of Ghent, the urban planning policy document has the support of all political views, again thanks to the proposal for urban control for children. In this context, the use of vehicles in downtown Ghent has been reduced and its rightful choice has been used for the safety of children, instead of facilitating commuting to Ghent, which is considered to be one of the “most child-friendly cities in the world”.

In Mexico City, hazardous crossing points near school and child care facilities were identified through traffic accident data mapping; As these maps draw public attention, decision-making processes for accelerating road safety in these areas have accelerated.

These and many more examples.

The similarities between them are the following choices: Is the city for those who use it for tourism or economic purposes, or for children?

Is the city a shopping mall, an empty space that could be used as a playground, or is it enough to play hopscotch with roses in their mouths, to soak up the bright sky in the midday sun, or to have fun? Sandbox?

In this seemingly innocent matter, a choice should be made and more space should be reserved for children.

UNICEF launched the Child Friendly Cities and Community Initiative in 10 provinces of Turkey in 2014. The objectives were to increase the capacity of local governments in their policies and practices for disadvantaged children, to encourage the allocation of resources in these areas within the budget framework, to fight the issue of child labor at the local level and to support participation. Children at the decision of the municipality city.

The project was later expanded to include about 100 municipalities.

When we talk about child-friendly cities, it is important to integrate childhood policies with urban norms, as investments made in the first three years of childhood need to be reflected in the design of cities.

Every করা 1 invested in early childhood, which includes 0-3 year olds, which experts call the “golden age” and where 85 percent of a child’s brain development is completed, returns between $ 7 and $ 10 in the economy; Social benefits are on the rise.

The City 95 initiative of the Bernard Van Lee Foundation is an interesting example in this regard; Because the number 95 has a meaning. The Urban95 initiative raises the following questions to city managers, urban planners, designers and leaders: ‘What would you do if you could feel a city from a height of 95 centimeters, that is, from the height of a 3-year-old child? Do it differently? ‘ So you have to “think small”.

Designing urban furniture for children to enter and play, designing creative playgrounds for children to learn some ergonomic rules on their own, adding ramps to sidewalks for children with disabilities, designing sinks and toilets in public areas according to height. For children, that is, the design of existing cities, it is also important to make it livable for children. This allows them to socialize in different areas of the city instead of visiting shopping malls as an activity for children on weekends.

The Istanbul 95 program, a Turkish adaptation of Kent95, involves designing playgrounds and parks for children aged 0-3 and their families, and preparing a public space design guide for municipalities.

In other words, in order for families not to bear the risk factors associated with child poverty, which is an inevitable part of urban poverty, these children should be embraced in the city in which they live, provided free, accessible and comprehensive support for their cognitive and physical. . Development, and their convenience in disclosing their development potential.

The diversification of these and similar projects in Turkey involves all relevant parties, multidimensional thinking, considering all stages of childhood and taking into account the views and suggestions of children and initiating spatial development as the first step towards creating only child-friendly cities. But a child-friendly country is also needed.

In the words of the American writer and architectural historian Louis Mumford,L.Forget the cursed motor vehicle and make the city for boyfriends and friends

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