cities for our children

Quick time out from the "design of democracy" series to plug this book:

Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth is a practical manual on how to conceptualize, structure and facilitate the participation of young people in the community development process. It is an important tool for urban planners, municipal officials, community development staff, non-governmental organizations, educators, youth-serving agencies, youth advocates, and others who are involved in the community development process. It offers inspiration to all who believe in the value of community education and empowerment as a fundamental building block of a vibrant and resilient civil society.

Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth
David Driskell
in collaboration with members of the Growing Up in Cities Project

More about the book -including table of contents here. This from the foreword:

"Children and youth are seldom involved in the construction of their environment. They are considered too inexperienced, too unrealistic, too unqualified. Yet their fresh perspectives may be exactly what is needed to see clearly into the realm of new possibilities. It is my strong conviction that tapping into young people’s ideas and reflections is essential to improving our cities. Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth can help us move in that direction."
More about UNESCO's Growing up in Cities program.

Growing Up in Cities

We live in an urbanizing world, in which more and more children and young people live in cities. In industrialized countries, a half to three-quarters of all children live in urban areas; in the developing world, the majority of children and youth will be urban in the next few decades. Yet across a wide range of indicators, cities are failing to meet the needs of young people and their families.
  • What does the process of urbanization mean in the lives of young people?
  • From young people’s own perspectives, what makes an urban neighborhood a good place in which to grow up?
  • Can cities be positive places for young people-places that support and nurture their development as constructive, contributing members of a civil society?
Growing Up in Cities is a global effort to understand and respond to these and other questions, and to help address the issues affecting urban children and youth. It is a collaborative undertaking of the MOST Programme of UNESCO and interdisciplinary teams of municipal officials, urban professionals, and child advocates around the world, working with young people themselves to create communities that are better places in which to grow up-and therefore, better places for us all.

Enlisting the Creativity and Energy of Children and Youth

Growing Up in Cities enlists the energy, ideas, and hope of young people to evaluate their own circumstances, define priorities, and create change. It also enables municipal governments and child advocates to implement the participation principles of the Habitat Agenda, Agenda 21, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It provides models of interdisciplinary, intersectoral collaboration for listening to the voices of young people and creating more responsive urban policies and practices.

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