From a 3.5-foot-high angle

From a 3.5-foot-high angle

BEIJING, June 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from on the building of child-friendly cities:

You may have heard this story: A parent once took his child shopping, but the child just won’t stop crying. The parent had to crouch beside the child, trying to comfort him. To the parent’s surprise, looking from the kid’s angle, a mere 3.5 feet high, there was no presumed street view, only a street full of legs and thighs.

To some degree, cities, which were designed for adults, are just a zoomed-out version of streets full of legs and thighs. While millions of children live in the cities, they need to be seen and from time to time, comforted. Since the 1990s, over 3,000 cities worldwide have been seeking to build themselves into child-friendly cities.

In China, children have been increasingly participating in building child-friendly cities, bringing in their “3.5-foot-high angle” to the picture.

In cities like Shenzhen and Nanjing, children’s councils were initiated in communities and schools, serving as a mechanism for children to speak out their solutions from their own point of view, ensuring children’s participation in the governance of their habitats of living and learning. In places like Guangzhou and Jiangyin, the “little mayor” event has been held for over 10 years. These “little mayors” not only pool their wisdom, but also dialogue with their real mayor, handing in proposals they made as children, literally participating in the building of cities. There are other places that send out questionnaires specifically for children, visualizing “child-friendly cities” based on these 3.5-foot-high angles, so that the city’s environment could be improved effectively.

As a result, many “15-minute diameter districts” were established, enabling children to safely arrive at playgrounds, gardens or libraries on foot within several minutes. More child-friendly transportation-related facilities appeared around schools, including special zebra crossings with safe waiting zones and smart underground loading zones. More and more public spaces have been transformed, becoming even more child-friendly, with improvements being made to these community services all-round.

In recent years, the exploration for building a child-friendly countryside has also kicked off. For example, Xiaoshan in Hangzhou first released an official set of standards, trying to build the first standardized child-friendly village in China, integrating the requirements of child-friendliness, the unique rural environment and the development of children. Many places in Shandong province and Hunan province have also embarked on this journey.

31 years ago, China ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and ever since, China has been honoring its commitment. A complete children’s health service system for urban and rural children has improved children’s health conditions; multiple laws including the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Compulsory Education Law have been enacted as a safety net for child protection; the largest education system in the world has supported children to stride towards broader horizons… In China, the 3.5-foot-high perspectives are valued, and the 3.5-foot-high children are well cared for.

June 1st is the International Children’s Day. Let’s hope every child can live a happy and healthy life in a child-friendly environment.

China Mosaic
From a 3.5-foot-high angle


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