The Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) initiative creates more equitable and abundant access to nature in cities through a partnership between the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and the Children & Nature Network. The CCCN initiative offers city officials and their partners guidance in establishing new connections between children and nature. The JPB Foundation provides generous support for this initiative.
The initiative seeks to ensure that connection to nature becomes an integral part of city priorities, planning and policymaking across a range of areas, including community health and wellness, education, out-of-school time programming, job creation, transportation, climate resilience, and land use. CCCN cities implement policy, develop new partnerships, amplify nature-based programming, and create more equitable nature access in parks and other urban infrastructure. Cities benefit from CCCN support in evidence-based promising practices, access to national experts, and structured peer learning opportunities.
Seven cities participated in the CCCN pilot cohort between 2015 and 2017; these cities advanced strategies to connect children to nature with more than $2.5M in new funds leveraged through the planning process. In 2018, CCCN welcomed eleven new cities to the initiative.
CCCN helps cities confront pressing child development issues such as the decline of unstructured outdoor play and higher rates of mental and physical health challenges related to sedentary, indoor lifestyles. The initiative also helps cities confront the marked disparities in nature access along socioeconomic and racial lines and responds to the need for a new generation of environmental stewards. Through involvement in the initiative, city leaders across the U.S. have begun to seize opportunities to prioritize equitable and abundant access to nature for all children.