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Global Alliance - Cities 4 Children Publications

Cities for Children: An Overview of Relevant Issues

Child Rights

This briefing provides an introduction to the status of children in urban areas, focusing on the most marginalised and deprived children and the range of issues they face, including the impacts of migration, poverty, hunger, conflict, disease and vulnerability to disaster.

Urban Children and Malnutrition

Health and Nutrition

This evidence into action brief summarises the state of research on the topic of urban children and malnutrition, and proposes ideas for action.

COVID-19 and Children in Urban Contexts

COVID19 and children in urban contexts COVID-19

This evidence into action brief summarises the state of research on the topic of urban children and COVID-19, and proposes ideas for action. Across the world, public and political attention is firmly focused on recovery from COVID-19. But it is vital that we build back better.

Children and Local Governance in Urban Areas

local governance paper cover Local Governance/Government

This brief considers the role of local government in poor urban areas, the resources that support or constrain this role, and the critical involvement of civil society, NGOs and communities. Giving examples from practice, it discusses the active contribution of children and young people to effective local governance processes that also address their priorities.

WASH: Improving Provision for Urban Children

WASH: Improving provision for urban children WASH

This briefing highlights the problems related to urban WASH access and presents research findings on the impact on children of different ages, especially young children and adolescent girls. This briefing also includes guidance for NGOs for supporting improved access to WASH and hence living conditions for children in urban contexts.

Knowledge Hub


Hidden Treasure SDI KYCTV Child and Youth Participation

Africa is the world’s youngest and fastest-urbanising continent. It is estimated that our population will reach 2 billion by 2050, with 50% of the population being under the age of 25. That means the future of work, the future of our environment, the future of technologies and digitisation, the future of our global economy, the future of health, and the future of sustainable cities is dependent on the role of the youth in African cities. This publication is a celebration of the wealth of talent and imagination of our federation youth. Yes, there’s poverty and need, but there’s also an abundance of creativity and ingenuity. The solutions are in our hands. The treasure is right here in front of you.

Urban Research Series: Cities and Fragility

Cities and Fragility - Plan International Urban Hub Gender

Cities and urban contexts face specific fragility challenges. Plan International is committed to investing in and implementing programmes that work towards the New Urban Agenda’s goals and seek to achieve inclusive, sustainable and equitable cities. Read the brief below to find out how Plan International uses gender-transformative programming to tackle violence and empower urban youth. Read more →

Introduction to Plan International’s Urban Research Series – Learning for Better Programming

Urban Research Series Introduction Plan International Tools for Practical Action

An introduction to Plan International’s Urban Research Series: Learning for better urban programming. Starting in 2022 Plan International will publish a series of urban research reports, to learn from past experiences and share learning from urban programming internally and externally. The Urban Research Series is intended as the basis of ongoing analysis and learning from Read more →

Safe and Inclusive Cities: Summary Brief

Safe and Inclusive Cities Plan Safety

This summary brief details the actions and change achieved between 2018 – 2020 of Plan's Safe and Inclusive Cities Programme. This programme is based on the key assumption that the drivers of urban fragility in informal settlements are unsafety, unemployment, and limited participation in decision-making, while simultaneously, urban youth-led community based organisations and youth savings networks as well as relevant civil society partners, government authorities, and private sector actors have capacity and creative resources to build on.

Children, Cities and Housing: Rights and Priorities

Children, Cities and Housing - Rights and Priorities UNICEF UNHabitat Habitat for Humanity Housing

The publication examines the challenges children in urban areas face because of poverty and the inadequacy of their housing. The paper also shares strategies to better realize children’s rights as enshrined in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child to enable a sustainable future for not just children but all humanity.

A guide: Building a society for babies, toddlers and caregivers

Bernard van leer Foundation - Building a society for babies, toddlers and caregivers Early Childhood

The early years is a window of opportunity to make a lasting impact on human lives. With the right support, governments can help babies and toddlers reach their full potential. Whether making policies for a nation or a village, this guide explains both why and how policymakers and practitioners can put young children first. It covers Read more →

School Streets to shape child-friendly cities

BYCS - School Streets to shape child-friendly cities Education and Schools

School Streets are roads in front of schools closed to traffic, and are emerging as a low-cost, simple intervention to reduce vehicle usage, pollution, improve safety, as well as encourage walking and cycling in an effort to enhance community health and increased comfort among children, and their families. This document is a brief review of Read more →

Access for All: Access and Babies, Toddlers, and Their Caregivers

ITDP and Bernard van Leer Foundation -Access and Babies, Toddlers and Their Caregivers Urban Design and Planning

More than a billion children live in cities – and yet most of these cities have not been designed to meet the needs of babies, toddlers, and their caregivers, and mobility systems have not been planned with their travel characteristics in mind. This negatively affects the children’s physical, mental, and cognitive development, as well as increases stress on caregivers. Investing in babies and toddlers leads to lifelong benefits for them, including educational achievement, positive health outcomes, and higher earnings potential.

iRAP Star Ratings of NACTO-GDCI’s Global Street Design Guide

iRap star ratings of NACTO-GDCI's Global Street Design Guide Road Safety

The Global Street Design Guide, developed by NACTO’s Global Designing Cities Initiative and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, marked a step toward changing the old road hierarchy, with designs that save lives, prioritize people and sustainable mobility, reflect diverse communities, and better serve everyone on the street. Released in 2016, this guide allows readers to review, Read more →

School Assessments Toolkit

School Assessments Toolkit Road Safety

This Toolkit is an online repository with the relevant actions and documents to structuring a school assessment project with Star Rating for Schools (SR4S). Visit Toolkit

Infant Mortality in Latin American Cities

Infant Mortality in Latin American Cities Health and Nutrition

Infant mortality reveals the level of social development of a community, as it indicates whether that community has access to adequate healthcare, nutrition, sanitation, and social protections. Rates of infant mortality in Latin America have steadily declined over the past century, similar to other regions in the global south. However, data from the region reveal Read more →

Urban social environment and low birth weight in 360 Latin American cities

Urban social environment and low birth weight in 360 Latin American cities Health and Nutrition

Objective: Using data compiled by the SALURBAL project (Urban Health in Latin America; ‘Salud Urbana en AmĂ©rica Latina’) we quantified variability in low birth weight (LBW) across cities in Latin America, and evaluated the associations of socio-economic characteristics at various levels (maternal, sub-city and city) with the prevalence of LBW. Methods: The sample included 8 Read more →

Women’s empowerment and infant mortality in Latin America: evidence from 286 cities

Women’s empowerment and infant mortality in Latin America Health and Nutrition

Levels of women’s empowerment (WE) can contribute to differences in infant mortality rates (IMRs) across cities. We used a cross-sectional multilevel study to examine associations of WE with IMRs across 286 cities in seven Latin American countries. We estimated IMRs for 2014–2016 period and combined city socioeconomic indicators into factors reflecting living conditions and service Read more →

Characterising variability and predictors of infant mortality in urban settings: findings from 286 Latin American cities

Characterising variability and predictors of infant mortality in urban settings Health and Nutrition

Background Urbanisation in Latin America (LA) is heterogeneous and could have varying implications for infant mortality (IM). Identifying city factors related to IM can help design policies that promote infant health in cities. Methods We quantified variability in infant mortality rates (IMR) across cities and examined associations between urban characteristics and IMR in a cross-sectional design. We Read more →

Proximity of Care – Design Guide

Proximity of care design guide Tools for Practical Action

The Proximity of Care Design Guide was developed by Arup and the Bernard van Leer Foundation to support the design and implementation of child- and family friendly interventions in vulnerable urban environments, with benefits for the entire community. Currently, up to 1 billion people are estimated to live in informal settlements – hundreds of millions Read more →

Activating play in London

Play profile - Burnt Oak, London Play

In collaboration with the Royal Town Planning Institute, the LEGO Foundation and local stakeholders, Arup used the Playful Cities Toolkit to undertake a comprehensive play assessment in the Burnt Oak borough of London, to understand the factors hindering and enabling play, and to identify opportunities to creatively plan for play spaces, strengthen peoples’ connections to Read more →

Activating Play in Milan

Activating play in Milan Play

In collaboration with the City of Milan and local stakeholders, Arup used the Playful Cities Toolkit to undertake a comprehensive play assessment in the Rogoredo neighbourhood, to understand the factors hindering and enabling play, and to identify opportunities to creatively plan for play spaces, strengthen peoples’ connections to one another, and support the neighbourhood’s future evolution.

Playful Cities Toolkit: resources for reclaiming play in cities

Playful Cities Toolkit: resources for reclaiming play in cities Play

Play is essential for children’s well-being and happiness, as well as for their healthy physical and emotional growth. The built environment is a critical play and learning resource for children: in cities, there is constant opportunity to realise the potential of playful learning experiences. The city scape invites and nurtures children’s innate curiosity during play, Read more →

Urban Planning for City Leaders

Urban Design and Planning

Urban Planning for City Leaders is a valuable source of information, inspiration and ideas on urban planning that is designed for city leaders and decision makers at a critical moment in human history. Predicted human population growth over the next 50 years will have immense consequences for all cities, in particular intermediate cities with populations of up to two million people.

Her city – A guide for cities to sustainable and inclusive urban planning and design together with girls


In general, women and girls benefit less from urbanization and urban spaces than men and boys. In fact, women and girls in cities will face a range of specific barriers and vulnerabilities in the form of gender based discrimination: gender inequality, violence against women, poverty, unpaid care-work, limited control over assets, unequal participation in public and private decision-making; as well as, Global Utmaning Introduction barriers to education, employment, housing and basic services. There is a lack of knowledge in participatory urban planning and design, particularly in involving vulnerable groups in urban development processes. Research has shown that participatory urban development with girls and young women, local actors, as well as multi-level decision-makers, creates opportunities for more inclusive, equal and sustainable urban development.

Guias para o desenvolvimento de bairros amigĂĄveis Ă  primeira infĂąncia (BAPIs)

Urban Design and Planning

Guias para o desenvolvimento de bairros amigĂĄveis Ă  Primeira InfĂąncia Ă© uma sĂ©rie de quatro publicaçÔes que foram desenvolvidas pelo Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil (IAB) como parte de um projeto em parceria com a Fundação Bernard van Leer e a cidade de AracajĂș. As recomendaçÔes elaboradas pelo IAB foram inspiradas em uma sĂ©rie de guias semelhantes desenvolvidos na Índia e adaptados ao contexto brasileiro.

Children and town planning: Creating places to grow

Urban Design and Planning

When children and young people grow up in a quality built and natural environment it can have a positive impact on their health, well-being and future life chances. Good town planning should aim to meet children’s needs as part of an inclusive and integrated society. To do this effectively children should have a say in Read more →

Policy brief: Air Pollution in Early Childhood

Air Pollution

Air pollution causes long-lasting damage to young children. During pregnancy, for example, pollution is almost as bad for the foetus as smoking. As children grow up, their developing brains and bodies are particularly vulnerable to pollutants – causing a variety of chronic health issues. So what does this global health emergency mean for young children, and what steps can policymakers take to ensure babies and toddlers breathe clean air?

Video series: In First Person/En Primera Persona

Children's Voices

The En Primera Persona (In First Person) project shines a light on individual experiences and the pandemic’s acute and pervasive effects on families living in overcrowded households often lacking basic services and whose parents are now underemployed or unemployed. Through personal conversations with women, the testimonials explore the challenges of gender violence, unemployment and hunger that have been worsened by the pandemic. The series also speaks to the ways in which communities are working to counter the effects of COVID-19 and help families in need.

The State of the World’s Children 2021

Child Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the mental health of a generation of children. But the pandemic may represent the tip of a mental health iceberg – an iceberg we have ignored for far too long. The State of the World’s Children 2021 examines child, adolescent and caregiver mental health. It focuses on risks and protective factors at critical moments in the life course and delves into the social determinants that shape mental health and well-being.

Guidance for Safe and Healthy Journeys to School: During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Education and Schools

As schools reopen, we have a unique opportunity to look not only at measures to help keep students safe on school premises, but also on the journey to school. These measures help to keep students safe during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and help to address other safety issues such as road traffic crashes, the number one killer of young people aged 5-29 years.

Just Cities for Children: Voices from Urban Slums

Children's Voices

Just Cities for Children: Voices from Urban Slums highlights World Vision’s experience in supporting children to express their ideas for a better city to key decision makers on a global platform, and in mainstreaming child participatory processes into its urban programmes.

Children, Cities and Climate: It’s time to listen to young people and cut carbon, clear the air and improve health

Climate Change

The Children, Cities and Climate preliminary report details key findings from an analysis of the child health co-benefits of radically cutting carbon emissions and air pollution in 16 global cities and a global survey of over 3,000 young people and parents from 59 cities, aiming to understand perspectives on their cities, urban air pollution, and ideas for how these can be improved.

Early Childhood Matters 2021

Early Childhood

This edition of Early Childhood Matters is dedicated to examining the many ways that climate change and early childhood intersect. In 34 articles, we hear from leading policymakers, researchers, educators, urban planners and activists from around the world, about how to both develop ecological resilience and improve well-being in the early years.

Belfast Urban Childhoods Masterplan: bringing families back to the city

Urban Design and Planning

With 35% of Belfast’s population aged 25 or under, Belfast City Council recognised the need to design for the youngest in the population and place them at the heart of city planning. With support from the Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities), and working closely with Belfast City Council, Arup developed a framework and design strategy that creates a more healthy, inclusive and child-friendly city centre in Belfast.

Strenghtening the Human Infrastructure of Cycling: White Paper


This white paper highlights the benefits of cycling promotion measures and presents key learnings from successful initiatives in order for them to be further considered and prioritised by cities and regions as they implement cycling strategies. It uses the framework of “human infrastructure” to advocate for greater attention to the emotional and social aspects of cycling cultures. The report also aims to guide cities and organisations by providing a framework to ensure all populations can identify with and access cycling.

Cycling Cities for Infants, Toddlers and Caregivers

Cycling Cities for Infants, Toddlers and Caregivers Cycling

BYCS partnered with the Bernard van Leer Foundation to research the positive connection between cycling and early childhood (0-3 years old) development. To date, there has been limited research conducted in this area and cities are struggling to accommodate young children and families. The longer-term goals are to inspire policy and planning changes as well as further academic research that are advantageous to children ages 0-3, caregivers, families, cyclists, and city residents in general.

Infancia y desigualdad habitacional urbana

Infancia y desigualidad habitacional urbana en ocho paises de america latina Housing

A partir de encuestas a hogares recientes (MICS y DHS) de un conjunto de ocho países de América Latina y el Caribe, cuyas características representan en gran medida el amplio abanico de situaciones de la región, el objetivo de este trabajo es, en primer término, estimar y caracterizar la situación de precariedad habitacional en åreas urbanas en la que viven los niños, niñas y adolescentes, y, en segundo término, analizar la fuerte relación que estas condiciones de precariedad habitacional tienen con la desigualdad en el acceso a otros derechos ligados al bienestar infantil y adolescente.

Measuring and monitoring child wellbeing and inequality at the local level

Equity-for-children-measuring-and-monitoring-child-wellbeing Data

One of the main challenges of public policy is to identify and monitor the issues that affect children. While basic information exists, data is rarely contextualized geographically or disaggregated by population groups. This makes it more difficult to develop interventions focused on the most vulnerable sectors and populations. For instance, in most cities further evidence is required about spaces and playing times available to young children and their families; the conditions and quality of the dwellings where they grow up; and, the safety and accessibility of the roads used for their daily commutes.

Reclaiming Play in Cities

Reclaiming play in cities - ARUP Play

Reclaiming Play in Cities was developed by Arup and the LEGO Foundation for the Real Play Coalition, and reviews the evidence around learning through play and the impact that urban environments have on children’s access to play and ultimately, their overall development.

Protect Urban Refugee Children

UNHCR Protect Urban Refugee Children Migration & Forced Displacement

Urbanization is a defining trend of our era. As of the end of 2016, 60% of the world’s 17.2 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate live in urban areas, with that number expected to increase. Many refugee children will live their entire childhoods in cities. With funding from the United States Government Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration, UNHCR is conducting research on the ways that city life affects the protection of refugee children and their families.

Tackling a Double-Threat: Children at the Front and Centre of Urban Fragility and Climate Change

Tackling a Double-Threat: Children at the Front and Centre of Urban Fragility and Climate Change Climate Change

Climate change is a threat multiplier, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable girls and boys. Though children are the least responsible for climate change, those living in urban informal settlements, as well as fragile and developing contexts, are among the most susceptible to its ravages. This policy brief explores the linkages between urban fragility and climate change and the resulting impacts on children in marginalized urban settings.

Youth and the New Urban Agenda

youth and the new urban agenda Child and Youth Participation

In order to create a positive correlation between urbanization and development – addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality - urban regulations and policies need to be reflective of the realities affecting young people. Cities can benefit from new thinking on how a youthful population provides opportunities for local economies to close income gaps and expand revenues for local authorities. Coupled with plans that account for larger youth populations living in and migrating to urban areas, cities can increase their potential for becoming prosperous, equitable and innovative.

Designing Streets for Kids

Urban Design and Planning

Building on the success of the Global Street Design Guide, the guidance in Designing Streets for Kids captures international best practices, strategies, programs, and policies that cities around the world have used to design spaces that enable children of all ages and abilities to utilize cities’ most abundant asset – streets. The guide includes design recommendations and case studies that highlight streets that are safe, enjoyable, and inspirational for children and caregivers.

Advantage or Paradox?: The challenge for children and young people of growing up urban

UNICEF advantage or paradox Child Rights

To better understand the paradox of urban areas sometimes having lower performance in some indicators than rural areas, UNICEF examined the best available international evidence for 10 selected indicators of child well-being drawn from the most recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) from 77 mostly low- and middle income countries.

The City at Eye Level for Kids

Urban Design and Planning

While urban planners may consider children when designing parks and playgrounds, few ask how their and their parents’ needs could be better met in the design of streets and other public spaces in neighbourhoods and city centres. The City at Eye Level (CAEL), an international platform advocating for more people-centred planning in urban development, seeks through this project to highlight and focus its scope on children and their parents.

KYCTV Pocket Filmmaker Handbook

Child and Youth Participation

A new media ecosystem is emerging and with it great opportunities. More and more people now have access to free and diverse information. Camera’s are getting smaller, internet bandwidth is getting faster and cheaper and more and more people share ideas through social media. This guide offers a crash course in making powerful video content to tell your story.

The New Urban Agenda learning resources

Urban Design and Planning

This course explains and illustrates the New Urban Agenda in an easily accessible format. The course is intended for anyone with an interest in sustainable urbanization. It is particularly useful to public civil servants, mayors, local government officials, architects, urban planners, NGO workers and volunteers, and employees of international organizations.

The New Urban Agenda

Urban Design and Planning

The New Urban Agenda was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, on 20 October 2016. It was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly at its sixty-eighth plenary meeting of the seventy-first session on 23 December 2016. The New Urban Agenda represents a shared vision for a better and more sustainable future. If well-planned and well-managed, urbanization can be a powerful tool for sustainable development for both developing and developed countries.

Proximity of care

Child Rights

A new approach to designing for early childhood in vulnerable urban contexts. This publication presents the challenges and opportunities confronting early childhood development in vulnerable urban contexts, derived from specialised research by Arup and the Bernard van Leer Foundation. 

Global Urban Approach 2018-2030: Executive Summary


This paper offers a summary of Habitat for Humanities to meeting the urban housing challenge. Housing is central to achieving socially just, economically viable and ecologically healthy and sustainable cities, as envisioned in the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Streets for Pandemic Response & Recovery

NACTO GDCI Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery COVID-19

Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery compiles emerging practices from around the world and includes implementation resources for cities and their partners. Recognizing the rapidly changing nature of this pandemic, Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery will be revised and expanded to include new strategies, address changing conditions, and provide the best possible information on each design practice.

Public Spaces for Children: A Consultation with Children on their use of Urban Public Spaces

World Vision Public Spaces for Children Public Space

Language: English This consultation aims to capture children’s perspectives and lived experience in the public spaces in their neighborhoods and cities. The questions focused on four different characteristics of that experience: proximity and accessibility, safety, cleanliness, usability and stability. The voices and experience of children in these different urban contexts can help establish the right Read more →

UNHCR policy on refugee protection and solutions in urban areas

UNHCR policy on refugee protection in urban areas Migration & Forced Displacement

The world is undergoing a process of rapid urbanization. In 1950, less than 30 per cent of the world’s population lived in cities and towns. That figure has now increased to over 50 per cent and is expected to reach 60 per cent by 2030. In view of these developments, it is no surprise to find that a growing number and proportion of the world’s refugees are also to be found in urban areas.

Child-Centred Urban Resilience Framework

Child Rights

This framework guides efforts to build urban resilience that support children, youth, girls and boys. It integrates child and human rights into resilient urban development, enabling children to become agents of resilience. Public and private stakeholders can use this guide to assess and adapt current efforts to build resilience; identify opportunities; promote co-ordination and develop pathways to greater resilience through new initiatives.

How can schools adapt to build climate resilience?

Education and Schools

Climate change guidance for London schools and early years settings. In the coming decades, climate change will cause more frequent and widespread flooding, scarcity of water resources, and increased heat risk. How can schools adapt to safeguard the learning and wellbeing of students and staff?

A youth driven approach to climate adaptation in informal settlements

Tools for Practical Action

This card game was developed with the aim to share the experience and knowledge gained though a youth-driven project to strengthen the resilience and adaptive capacity of disadvantaged communities in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to assist other organisations, urban practitioners and decision makers working in similar vulnerable contexts to prompt discussion with youth and community groups, and gain useful inspiration for their own projects. 

Cities Alive: Designing for Urban Childhoods

Urban Design and Planning

A child-friendly approach to urban planning is a vital part of creating inclusive cities that work better for everyone. Designing for urban childhoods inspires us to respond positively to the challenges, and sets out actions that can help take us to a more child-friendly future – moving well beyond simply providing playgrounds.

Global Urban Approach – Case study: Liberia


Language: English Innovative, affordable housing solutions in any context require evidence-based community-, market-and policy-level solutions that stem from a deeper analysis of the entire housing ecosystem. This includes understanding the housing market conditions; the policy environment; and the social, economic and environmental realities that communities face. Relevant assessments that identify constraints and optimize opportunities are essential Read more →

Reverse Innovation: Could Learning From LMIC Child Health Programmes Support HIC to Equitably and Efficiently Address Child Health Needs Post COVID-19?

Health and Nutrition

There is an urgency to consider how we need to modify our current public health strategies in HIC to mitigate for the secondary negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking towards and learning from conflict settings and areas of humanitarian crisis in LIC/LMIC may be a place to start. The process, whereby HIC adopt interventions developed in LIC/LMIC is most frequently described as Reverse Innovation

Multiple and complex links between babyWASH and stunting: an evidence synthesis


Studies have shown linkages between water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and stunting in children under 2 years in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper reviews the literature regarding these links, and the efficacy of both general WASH interventions and those targeted at children in their first 1,000 days, known as babyWASH, for stunting reduction.

Challenging Urban Poverty Project Brief


Save the Children is implementing the Challenging Urban Poverty project in Yangon, Myanmar to support the socioeconmic 'graduation' of very poor and vulnerable urban households. This brief outlines the package offered to families through the project.

Making Lives: Refugee self-reliance and humanitarian action in cities

Migration & Forced Displacement

This publication presents the results of a one-year research project at the intersection of urban, humanitarian and forced migration studies. As protracted displacement increasingly contributes to urban change and poses a challenge for city governance and infrastructures, this research project focuses on ‘urban-itarian’ settings – cities that are home to a growing number of ‘persons of concern’, and increased humanitarian activity

Securing the Rights of Girls and Boys in Urban Poor Relocation Programs

Child Rights

This child rights impact assessment (CRIA) studies the impact of resettlement on children living in informal settlements and resettlement sites. The study embraces a holistic perspective on children’s situation by looking a range of factors that influence children’s rights and well-being: right to health, right to education, right to safe environment, freedom from violence and abuse, etc.

Forgotten Futures: The lives of refugee children in urban areas of Indonesia and Thailand

Migration & Forced Displacement

This study seeks to build an understanding of the education and child protection issues surrounding refugee and asylum-seeking children living in these precarious and detrimental situations. Research conducted in Bangkok and Jakarta included interviews with service providers and refugee community members as well as site visits to community learning centres, detention centres and shelters.

Climate Change Risks and Resilience in Urban Children in Asia: Synthesis Report for Secondary Cities

Climate Change

This study looks at three secondary Asian cities: Khulna (Bangladesh), Malolos (Philippines) and Da Nang (Vietnam). It considers the opportunities and gaps between current urban and climate change planning and argues for greater focus on secondary cities – in particular those cities at highest risk in Asia. It concludes by putting forward recommendations for government and non-government actors alike.

State of the World’s Mothers 2015: The urban disadvantage


This report presents the latest and most extensive analysis to date of health disparities between rich and poor in cities. It finds that in most developing countries, the poorest urban children are at least twice as likely to die as the richest urban children. In some countries, they are 3 to 5 – or even more – times as likely to die.

Urban Situation Analysis: Guide and Toolkit

Tools for Practical Action

This ready-to-use Urban Situation Analysis Guide has been designed to help development workers assess the urban realities and complexities that directly impact children and their communities.

Jozi Lights: How to protect children engaging in rural to urban migration

Child Protection

Through support from Save the Children’s Urban Strategy Initiative and the role and work of our Southern Africa Regional Office and country teams in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe this study utilizes learning from a participatory study with migrant children in those cities to determine suitable methodologies for seeking out and building a profile of children who are most at risk of migrating alone.

COVID-19 & the Risks to Children in Urban Contexts


This policy brief looks at how World Vision is responding as we continue to anticipate and experience the impacts in Urban areas, assess the needs of the most vulnerable  and provides recommendations for what governments, the UN and other NGOs can do to lessen their suffering. 

Leaving is Living: impact of family, the economy and violence on migrant children from El Salvador

Migration & Forced Displacement

The findings of World Vision’s studies outline the social and economic factors that influence children®s and caregivers’ decisions to migrate. The findings also provide empirical evidence of the nature of children’s lived experiences along migratory routes, while highlighting the crucial role of families and migrant shelters throughout migration processes.

The New Urban Agenda Illustrated

Tools for Practical Action

The New Urban Agenda Illustrated handbook serves as the base for the New Urban Agenda online crash course. The self-paced course is available for free and accessible at any time. The course further breaks down the contents of the New Urban Agenda in an interactive and engaging format. 

Global Street Design Guide

Urban Design and Planning

The Global Street Design Guide is supporting practitioners to redefine the role of streets in cities around the world. Created with the input of experts from 72 cities in 42 countries, the Guide offers technical details to inform street design that prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders.

Outdoor Public Space Activities Characteristics of Children and Their Inter-generational Parents and Design Strategies from the health perspective: a case study in Harbin, China

Public Space

With the rapid urbanization of China and the establishment of the new family structure, the phenomenon of grandparents taking care of children has become common in urban families. Preschoolers and their inter-generational caregivers have become the second major users of outdoor public space (OPS) in the cities of China. This paper explores this phenomenon and some of the design considerations it requires.

Global Urban Approach – Case study: Paraguay


A case study of a comprehensive housing ecosystem approach in AsunciĂłn, Paraguay. Innovative, affordable housing solutions in any context require evidence-based community-, market- and policy level solutions that stem from a deeper analysis of the entire housing ecosystem.

Make Adolescent Well-Being a Priority: An Urgent Call to Action

Child and Youth Participation

This is a call to action to make adolescent health and wellbeing a priority. The 10-19 age group is a unique window of opportunity for well-being, health and development, through a person's life. Yet globally, 1.1 million adolescents are dying each year from preventable causes. Millions more are suffering abuse, injury and ill health

Playing it Safe? A global white paper on risk, liability and children’s play in public space

Public Space

Available data suggests that playgrounds are comparatively safe places – yet, in many countries, concerns about potential liability for injury have led to bureaucratic risk reduction initiatives that might not do a good job of weighing the risks against the benefits of encouraging more adventurous outdoor play. Drawing on research across a number of disciplines, this white paper sets out 10 recommendations for action by agencies taking forward playground and public space initiatives.

Toolkit for measuring urban experiences of young children


People moving count, stationary activity mapping, intercept surveys and sensory mapping are among the tools that can be used to gather data on young children and caregivers in cities. They are explained in practical detail in this publication, a collaboration between the Bernard van Leer Foundation and Gehl.

An Urban95 Starter Kit – ideas for action

Tools for Practical Action

Based on learnings gathered from Urban95 initiatives across the world, this Urban95 Starter Kit serves as a starting point to help cities understand the value of investing in their youngest inhabitants and the people who care for them, and to provide actionable ideas and guidance on how to do so.

Reconstructing a city in the interests of its children: Tirana, Albania, 2015–2019

Local Governance/Government

Erion Veliaj is the first mayor of Tirana, Albania, to be elected primarily by those born after communism. In 2015 he took charge of a youthful city – the 800,000 residents’ average age was 27 – that had endured decades of isolation under a totalitarian regime followed by unchecked growth in the 1990s that brought heavy pollution, traffic, haphazard construction, economic disparity, corruption and social strife.

PUCU: Camino de Encuentros para la Primera Infancia de Pucusana

Disaster Risk Reduction

Language: Spanish En la guĂ­a de diseño de PUCU, se recogen ideas para reorganizar los espacios pĂșblicos y diseñarlos de forma que respondan mejor a las necesidades de crecimiento y desarrollo de la primera infancia. Se establece un estrecho vĂ­nculo entre el urbanismo y el diseño, por un lado, y las necesidades de la sociedad, por Read more →

How dashboards can help cities improve early childhood development


Data dashboards can help cities to set priorities, monitor progress, encourage collaboration, inform decisions, increase accountability, and strengthen the voices of children. Based on interviews with experts and practitioners, this report considers when dashboards are useful, how they work, and what makes them most effective in promoting child-friendly cities.

Mix and Match – Tools to Design Urban Play

Tools for Practical Action

This toolkit provides possible design interventions to create more inclusive play environments from the street to the neighbourhood. It is aimed at stakeholders including policy-makers, designers, planners, architects, NGOs and residents.

Services for children and family in Istanbul district municipalities


This report summarises how the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) produced an interactive map of services for children and families across 39 district municipalities in Istanbul, correlated with data about the child population and socio-economic indicators.

Space to Grow: Ten principles that support happy, healthy families in a playful, friendly city

Tools for Practical Action

This paper briefly distils 10 initial findings from research to explore how public spaces in a city might better support young children and their caregivers. Ranging beyond parks and playgrounds to plazas, sidewalks and streets, it aims to inform and inspire planners, designers, public health advocates and community members who are fighting for more child-friendly cities.

Comparative Global Study of Urban Spaces to Support Parents

Public Space

This comparative study looks in depth at five programmes: Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (London); Briya Public Charter School’s Two Generation Programme (Washington DC); Mala Ulica Family Centre (Ljubljana); De SLOEP, House of the Child (Ghent); and Triple P – Positive Parenting Program (Queensland).

Governing from a child’s perspective: Recife, Brazil, works to become family friendly, 2017-2019

Child and Youth Participation

This case study looks at the Urban95 project in Recife, Brazil. In 2017, Geraldo Julio, the mayor of Recife, Brazil, heard scientific evidence that ensuring children from birth to age six years got a better start in life resulted in long-term benefits such as improved health, more-effective learning, less likelihood of criminal involvement, and increased employability.

Building Better Cities with Young Children and Families: How to engage our youngest citizens and families in city building: a global scan of best practices

Urban Design and Planning

880 Cities set out to find out what cities around the world are doing when it comes to engaging young children and their families in city building. BvL conducted background research, place-based research, and interviews with over 20 researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and thought-leaders on diverse projects related to the built environment as well as for the delivery services.

Reducing Inequality by Focusing on the Very Young: Boa Vista, Brazil, Deepens its Investment in Early Childhood Development, 2009–2016

Early Childhood

Narrowing the gap between rich and poor was a top priority for Teresa Surita, five-time mayor of Boa Vista, Brazil. Surita had long viewed early childhood development services as crucial for improving life chances and attaining that goal, and she had partnered with several programs to expand parent coaching and other opportunities. This case study outlines the Urban95 program in Boa Vista.

Forgotten voices: The world of urban children in India

Child Rights

This report discusses how the major urban development schemes in India do not adequately take into account issues related to children’s health, education, growth, safety and participation and presents concrete and specific opportunities for intervention for policymakers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Urban Considerations For World Vision’s Global COVID-19 Response


This document serves to provide specific recommendations to the four strategic objectives of WV’s global response to COVID-19 in urban contexts; keeping in mind that different countries are in different stages of the transmission and while immediate preventative measures are critically needed, it is also important to start considering what needs to be done beyond prevention and response.

Belfast Urban Childhoods Masterplan: bringing families back to the city

Urban Childhoods Masterplan, Belfast Public Space

With 35% of Belfast’s population aged 25 or under, Belfast City Council recognised the need to design for the youngest in the population and place them at the heart of city planning. With support from the Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities), and working closely with Belfast City Council, Arup developed a framework and design strategy that creates a more healthy, inclusive and child-friendly city centre in Belfast.

Voices from urban Africa: The impact of urban growth on children

Child Rights

This report examines the impact of urbanization on children in Africa — including sexual exploitation and abuse, disease and malnutrition, illiteracy and child labor — and is calling for greater investment in policies and programs to ensure the survival, protection and advancement of children, particularly those living in the poorest urban communities.

The Hidden Impact of COVID-19 on Children in Urban Contexts


The characteristics of urban areas increase not only the exposure and vulnerability of their populations to the direct health risks of COVID-19, but also the negative impact of infection control measures. As COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the globe, governments have implemented a range of measures to contain the spread of the pandemic, including school closures, home isolation/quarantine and community lockdowns.

Safe and healthy journeys to school Toolkit

FIA Foundation Child Health Initiative Toolkit Education and Schools

This toolkit is to support and enable the delivery of ‘safe and healthy journey to school’ interventions. Each day millions of children worldwide face the risk of road traffic injury and are forced to breathe dangerously toxic air. The toolkit is an introductory guide to help you to assess the current situation of roads and air pollution, design an appropriate intervention, and work with others to ensure a lasting impact. This unsafe environment is a major health threat to children on their daily journey to access education.

Early Childhood Matters 2020

Early Childhood

The global COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the enormous gaps between communities, cities, regions and nation states. To shape a better future, investing in early childhood needs to remain a priority for all governments and societies. Front and centre of this year’s Early Childhood Matters are resounding calls to action from global leaders and experts to ensure that young children, families, frontline workers and cities continue to thrive.

Child Friendly design of urban public space: based on the study of shanghai, China

Public Space

At present, more than 50% of children live in big cities. But with the increasing number of motor vehicles and shrinking public spaces , children have less and less opportunities for outdoor activities, resulting in obesity and sub-health problems. Therefore, it is very important to build children-friendly public spaces in metropolis. This study takes the Shanghai, China as an example.

Shaping urbanization for children

Urban Design and Planning

This publication calls all urban stakeholders to invest in child-responsive urban planning, recognizing that cities are not only drivers of prosperity, but also of inequity. Through 10 Children’s Rights and Urban Planning principles, the handbook presents concepts, evidence, tools and promising practices to create thriving and equitable cities where children live in healthy, safe, inclusive, green and prosperous communities. By focusing on children, it provides guidance on the central role that urban planning should play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, from a global perspective to a local context.

Making Sense of the City: Developing evidence through action research and learning

Child Rights

The 'Making Sense of the City' report provides lessons from practical action with regard to World Vision's impact in dense and diverse informal settlements and slums.  World Vision's first (five-year) phase of urban research confirms children are the first casualties of urban poverty. We are learning that proximity to services in urban settings does not mean access and that the urban poor continue to be excluded from the benefits of urbanisation due to political, social and economic factors.

The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World

Child Rights

Urbanisation has left hundreds of millions of children excluded from vital services, UNICEF warns in its new report, The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an Urban World. Over half the world’s population – including more than a billion children – now live in cities and towns. Cities offer many children the advantages of urban schools, clinics and playgrounds. Yet the same cities the world over are also the settings for some of the greatest disparities in children’s health, education and wellbeing.