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September 21 and 22
2 days, 2 disciplines, 2 ways to participate – defining our professional roles and uniting to build more equitable, accessible and inspired communities.
The way municipalities across Ontario have approached city planning and design has largely compromised the health and well-being of children. Today, fewer children walk or bike to school than in the 1980s. Children in Ontario and across Canada spend less time outside playing than any previous generation, in part because of their lack of independent mobility, and in part because of risk-averse policies focused more on limiting liability than on creating exciting places to play.
Now, there is an urgency for planners and municipalities to improve these two overlapping cornerstones of a more child-friendly city:
1) outdoor free play (the ability for a child to play creatively and experiment with risk on their own, outdoors); and
2) independent mobility (the ability for a child to get around the city on their own by walking, cycling, or taking public transit).
We studied global and local best practices in child-friendly city planning for our My City Too report and used our learnings to facilitate Toronto’s first pop-up demonstration of the European School Streets Model. Working collaboratively with city staff, the local city councillor, community members, and school staff, we closed part of Mountview Ave to cars and opened it to children during peak pick-up and drop-off hours at Keele Street Public School. The #880StreetsMountviewAve project demonstrated what child-focused planning looks like.
In this session, we discuss the importance of creating child-friendly cities, present global and local examples of advancements to outdoor free play and independent mobility for children, and share resources for participants to create cities that prioritize the well-being of kids.