Children’s views about Child Friendly City: A case study from Izmir
Children from around the world hold similar views about what constitutes a Child Friendly City
This study sought the views of children from three different districts in Turkey on what constitutes a child-friendly city. Two of these districts (one low income, the other high income) were located within the central city of Izmir and had no plans or projects focusing on child friendly issues. The third district was outside the center of Izmir and was known for its vision of being a Slow City. This district had planned for and initiated some projects towards becoming a Child Friendly City.
The first stage of the study involved children from the two central city districts. The specific aim of this stage was to examine the impact of socio-economic data on the perceptions of children. The aim of the second stage was to see if the claims and related efforts of being a Slow City and a Child Friendly City have any impact on children’s views related to the “Child Friendly City” concept.
Open-ended questions and drawing tasks were used to obtain children’s opinions on what they thought a Child Friendly City should be. Fifty-three children participated in the first stage of the study – 19 from the high-income district and 34 from the low-income district. Twenty-two children participated in the second stage of the study.
Results indicated that children felt playgrounds, sports facilities and bicycle paths should be accessible to them. They also asked for more education and entertainment facilities and for traffic calming devices. Safety and security were important to the children, as evidenced by the importance they placed on the city being a peaceful place and their playgrounds being safe. They also wanted traffic rules to be obeyed. The ideas expressed by the children did not differ by socio-economic status nor were there significant differences between the opinions of male and female children. A limited number of children in the second stage of the study mentioned the importance of “good governance” and “participation;” these numbers, however, were not significant. Ideas expressed in the children’s drawings were consistent with the written responses, indicating that most children expect a Child Friendly Environment to be green, spacious, clean and well-kept. These findings are consistent with other studies, indicating that children from around the world hold similar views about what constitutes a Child Friendly City.
Gokmen, H., Tasci, B.G., (2016). Children’s views about Child Friendly City: A case study from Izmir. Megaron, 11(4)