The Review of Child Friendly Planning in the UK gives nine recommendations to facilitate 'child friendly' planning policy.

This review follows on from the recent concept of the Child Friendly City model, initiated and championed by UNICEF, where a child-friendly city is where children:

Live in a safe secure and clean environment with access to green spaces. (Unicef 2019)

The Review, written by Dr Jenny Wood, Dinah Bornat and Prof Aude Bicquelet-Lock, is a careful analysis of how children’s rights are presented within the national planning policies and supporting guidance of each UK nation. It looks specifically at three key human rights as stipulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:

  • the right to participate in decision-making (Article 12)
  • to gather in public space (Article 15)
  • to play, rest leisure, and access cultural life (Article 31).

The applications of these rights are used to assess the ‘child-friendliness’ of each of the four nations' planning policy. 

The review came about after a quick examination of national planning policies revealed children are currently most visible through their absence although it states recent planning reforms in Scotland are increasingly aligning with the child-friendly agenda...but there is room in all four nations to consider children more centrally.

There are nine recommendations under four themes:

  • The rights to gather, play & participate
  • Recognising children as a distinct group
  • Focusing planning towards child-friendly outcomes
  • Learning and collaboration

Recommendation 1 states: 

Play, recreation, leisure and assembling in public space should be at the heart of what national planning policy promotes for children.

Recommendation 9 states: 

Policymakers and professionals in planning should have networking opportunities with childhood and youth professionals to encourage collaboration, learn engagement skills, and to help them advocate for the rights of children.

Find out more about about greenspace scotland Young Placechangers placemaking programme where young people to transform both the place they live, their relationship to it and the wider community.

Read the Review here