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Children are Citizens Too: Consulting with Children on the Redevelopment of a Central City Square in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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A major challenge of the twenty-first century is ensuring the social sustainability of our cities. This requires 'child-friendly' cities, which take into account the rights and needs of the children who live in them to play and explore to ensure their presentday wellbeing and longer-term healthy development; and their rights, as citizens, to feel safe and welcome in public spaces and to participate in urban planning decisions aff ecting their use of the public realm. While there has been increasing acknowledgement of these rights following the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the subsequent UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative, children continue to lose out in the urban justice stakes. They are largely confined (by design or decree) to child-specific settings within adult-centric cities; and while their views may be sought on the provision of child-specific facilities and programmes, their meaningful participation in urban design and planning is rare. This paper reports on a 'first' for Auckland Council in Aotearoa/New Zealand: children's participation (co-facilitated by the authors and council staff in 2015) in the design and redevelopment of a central city square. We reflect on its significance in terms of children's 'right to the city' and their meaningful participation in urban design and planning – part of a progression towards greater urban justice for children and socially sustainable cities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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