Addressing the needs of urban children and adolescents


Not enough is known about practical and effective ways of addressing children's interests within urban development. Their concerns are rarely taken into account in most planning decisions, community development projects or housing and neighbourhood upgrading schemes.

The Human Settlements research group’s work in this field was developed by Roger Hart and Sheridan Bartlett of the Children’s Environments Research Group (New York University).

Dr Bartlett worked part-time in IIED and she took primary responsibility for preparing the book 'Cities for Children: Children's Rights, Poverty and Urban Management', published by Earthscan in association with UNICEF in 1999. This looks at the implications of children’s priorities for different municipal departments or agencies (such as for planning, education, health, transport, education and law enforcement).

The programme also produced the Earthscan Book 'The Environment for Children' for UNICEF in 1996. Programme staff advised UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Cities Programme and the October 2002 issue of Environment & Urbanization focused on 'Building cities with and for children and youth'.

Further work included developing guidelines to assist community groups, NGOs, development agencies and government officials in ensuring that children's priorities were included in their planning and practice.

Additional resources

Urban children and climate change: impacts and implications for adaptation in low- and middle-income countries, Climate Change and Cities Discussion Paper 2, Sheridan Bartlett (2008), IIED

From HIV prevention to HIV protection: addressing the vulnerability of girls and young women in urban areas, Mabala, R. (2006), Environment and Urbanization 18(2): 407-432.

The definition of child poverty: a discussion of concepts and measurements, Minujin, Alberto, Enrique Delamonica, Alejandra Davidziuk, and Edward D Gonzalez (2006), Environment and Urbanization 2006 18(2): 481-500.

Building Better Cities for Children and Youth (2002), Environment & Urbanization

Cities for Children: Children's Rights, Poverty and Urban Management (1999), Earthscan in association with UNICEF

The Environment for Children (1996), Earthscan for UNICEF

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