A Better Childhood in the City

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We live in a rapidly urbanizing world. In 1981, for example, only 10 percent of Tanzania’s population lived in urban areas; in 2002 this figure had risen to 35 percent and it is estimated to reach 50 percent in 2015. In many countries children and young people constitute half the population, and they need to be involved in how their surroundings are shaped. In May 2006 the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, and Save the Children Sweden arranged the seminar ”A Better Childhood in the City” to discuss how the urban environment affects children, and how children’s perspectives can be part of urban development and planning. The aim of the seminar was to bridge the gap between different disciplines, The special needs of children and young people have to be part of urban development and planning - from the beginning and not as an afterthought. Children and young people must be listened to. They must be allowed to take an active role in the community and local life, and have a say in the decisions that will affect their lives and futures. Architects and city planners can best make a difference if they work together with local stakeholders and the community. These were some of the points discussed by the speakers at the seminar "A Better Childhood in the City".

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