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Half the world's children live in cities and the proportion is growing. Their environment critically determines their futures and the world they will make as adults. This text, by an interdisciplinary team of international child-environment authorities, explores how crucial the relationship of the young and their surroundings is. Covering eight countries, it shows the enormous benefits - for them, for the wider society and for the future - of involving children, especially from underprivileged communities, in planning and implementing urban improvements. It continues and updates Kevin Leech's pioneering 1970s MIT project, Growing Up in Cities.
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Award: The Growing Up in Cities project has won the 2002 EDRA/Places Research Award - out of 115 candidates. EDRA is the Environmental Design Research Association and Places is an international environmental design journal, both based in the USA. More than half of all children in industrialised countries live in urban areas, and the same will be true in the developing world in the near future. Yet, by almost all indicators, cities are failing to meet the needs of young people, prejudicing their chances as adults. This important volume marks the revival of the Growing Up in Cities project of UNESCO — pioneered in the 1970s by the influential urban planner Kevin Lynch — which seeks to understand the reasons why young people find their city a good place in which to grow up, or a place where they feel alienated and disconnected. An interdisciplinary team of experts in child development and urban planning describe and analyse the relationship of young people and their urban surroundings in eight countries: Argentina, Australia, India, Norway, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Focusing on low-income neighbourhoods, they highlight common obstacles to participatory processes and recommend policies and practices that will make cities more responsive to the needs of children and adolescents. They also compare and examine the conclusions of research from the 1970s and 1990s. With a new emphasis on the active participation of children and youth in community planning, this volume shows how principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda can be implemented at the local level in order to engage young people’s insights, energy and creativity in shaping their cities and towns. This volume provides new insights into these issues, for academics, architects, urban planners, development practitioners, activists for children’s rights or environmental protection, and for parents and others concerned about how well urban environments address the needs of future generations.About the Author:
Louise Chawla is a Professor at Whitney Yound College and also at Antioch Graduate School and is a former Fulbright Scholar. She is coordinator for UNESCO's Growing Up in Cities project.
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