Cities4Children Blog

This is our platform for sharing insights, ideas for actions, conversations and innovations that make cities better for children and young people.

How air pollution affects children in cities

air pollution

Cities4Children, December 8, 2021, 6 min

Air pollution has devastating implications. It can increase the likelihood of childhood asthma, stunt lung growth, and can even lead to heart disease and increased rates of diabetes. For the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, they tend to be on the frontline of air pollution. This is partly due to the location of affordable housing Read more →

16 Ways for 16 Days: Ending Gender Based Violence

Plan International

, November 30, 2021, 5 min

It is women and girls who experience the brunt of gender-based violence, or GBV. These experiences can be more prevalent and intensified in cities. By 2050, 68% of the world’s population will live in cities, while by 2030, 60% of the world’s urban population will be under the age of 18. This presents specific challenges Read more →

How tactical urbanism can transform the way children use the city

Child on bike in Brazil NACT GDCI

Anupama Nallari, November 23, 2021, 7 min

How tactical urbanism can transform the way children use the city Planned development takes time, and proposed changes may be sluggish to implement, often challenged by bureaucratic powers that deny cities the opportunity to ‘get things done’. Sometimes cities need an injection of tactical urbanism to transform urban use and improve the way of life Read more →

“A city without fear”: Children dream of life in post-pandemic cities

Child Participation

Marta Briones, November 9, 2021, 6 min

The Covid-19 pandemic brought urban life to a halt and turned children’s lives upside-down overnight. Across the world, children no longer had lessons or physical contact with their friends, and could not play or exercise outdoor. Strict lockdowns and mobility restrictions have shown the importance of more and better public spaces in our cities. Nearly Read more →

What can our cities do to combat climate change and improve them for children?


Cities 4 Children, November 3, 2021, 6 min

This year’s COP26 is all about accelerating adaptation and mitigation: driving action towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We know now that climate change affects all aspects of our life.  The majority of the world’s population live in cities, and that number is set to rise. It’s Read more →

‘A green thought in a green shade’: why urban children need green space

A Green Thought in a Green Space
Green Spaces

Sheridan Bartlett, October 15, 2021, 16 min

In today’s urbanising world, we are rapidly losing the green spaces that are so vital to our health and well-being. Here, I share some especially compelling research on the benefits of these spaces and the costs of doing without them, particularly for children. These findings date back to the mid-1990s. Yet they continue to provide Read more →

Child-safe homes: upgrading solutions that can save lives

Blog cover housing

Olivia Nielsen, October 1, 2021, 8 min

Poor-quality housing can be a matter of life and death, especially for children. Governments often focus on building new homes rather than improving the quality of existing ones. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic and ‘shelter-in-place’ orders have highlighted the importance of doing so. Here, Olivia Nielsen explores the dangers of sub-standard homes for young children and Read more →

The ‘greenest’ children lack access to nature: how can cities do better?

Green Spaces

Anupama Nallari, September 17, 2021, 13 min

Despite being the ‘greenest’, children in slums and informal settlements have little access to the safe green spaces which are vital to their well-being, health and development. In this blog I ask, how can cities better connect these communities to national and city-level urban green investments and support grassroots greening initiatives? Why are children in Read more →

Space to play: how outside common spaces in informal settlements boost children’s development

Space to play: how outside common spaces in informal settlements boost children’s development
Informal Settlements

Anupama Nallari, August 6, 2021, 13 min

We often look at what’s wrong in slums and informal settlements. Here, I draw attention instead to one of their assets: the common space outside people’s homes. I explore its importance for children’s play and development, while unpacking the fluidity and changing nature of these spaces. And as increasing competition for their use leaves less Read more →

Rewarding good governance for children in Brazilian cities

UNICEF-BRZ-Alessandro Potter
Local Governance

Anupama Nallari, July 14, 2021, 11 min

Can competition between cities enable them to perform better? And if yes, for whom and in what ways? Several national and international city awards have mushroomed over the years. These recognise and reward good governance practices in cities around sustainability, mobility and transport, urban design and liveability. Few awards, however, have a specific focus on Read more →

Four innovative approaches to childcare in informal settlements

Four innovative approaches to childcare in informal settlements
Child Care

Anupama Nallari, May 28, 2021, 12 min

For millions of women and families living in poor urban areas, the lack of access to childcare services can be devastating. It can lead to lost incomes, higher caregiving burdens and psychological stress – and it affects the quality of care that children receive. Here, Anupama Nallari outlines why affordable, quality and proximate childcare services Read more →