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Children and town planning: Creating places to grow

Author(s): Sarah Lewis

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 what these places look like. They should be actively engaged in the plan-making and design process. One of the aims of this advice is to expand the scope of what is currently understood as planning for children, beyond planning for play, towards a more inclusive approach that encompasses all aspects of children’s lives, highlighting the importance of the sustainable location of development that encourages independent and sustainable mobility.
This practice note gives advice on how town planners can work within the current UK and Ireland planning systems and with other professionals to plan child-friendly places. It summarises expert advice, outlines key planning policy and focuses on good practice through a series of case studies. It also outlines eight principles for designing child-friendly places. The policy context applies to England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland, but the principles of good practice apply wherever you work in the world. The audience for this advice is primarily RTPI members, but it is also relevant to other built environment professionals, advocates for children’s rights, charities and local politicians.

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