Town planning has a vital role to play in helping children bounce back from the pandemic.

That’s the message of new guidance published today from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) on how planners can work within current planning systems across the UK and Ireland and with other professionals to plan for more child-friendly places.

Children and Town Planning: Creating places to grow shows how young people face numerous challenges directly related to the built environment, including poor quality and overcrowded housing, high levels of pollution, limited access to quality green space and opportunities for play, and the impacts of climate change. 

The new guidance also recognizes that, since March 2020, young lives have been further impacted by Covid-19 - whilst relatively few have experienced significant health impacts from catching the disease, the impact of lockdowns, school closures and reduced social interaction has been huge.

Among its recommendations, the guidance stresses the importance of meaningful consultation and engagement with children and young people in the planning process through the use of creative techniques such as Minecraft, Lego building, model making, and arts and crafts.

It also recommends collaborative working between planners and health and education professionals to better understand the experience of children and to create spatial solutions that improve that experience.

The guidance also says that, as part of their work, local authorities should explore the use of the Real Play Coalition’s Urban Play Framework. This tool for assessing the dimensions critical to ensure a play-friendly environment for optimal child development and learning was recently successfully field-tested in the London Borough of Barnet.

For more information, read RTPI | Work of town planners essential to children’s post-Covid recovery