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NACTO’s Global Designing Cities Initiative releases Designing Streets For Kids

19 August 2020

New urban design resource focuses on children and caregivers, offering practical solutions and inspiration to make streets safer and more welcoming for all.  

The Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI), a program of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), has launched Designing Streets for Kids—a supplement to NACTO-GDCI’s Global Street Design Guide (GSDG), which set a new global baseline for designing urban streets. Designing Streets for Kids builds upon the approach of putting people first, with a focus on the specific needs of babies, children, and their caregivers as pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users in urban streets around the world.

“If you design a street that works for kids, you’ve designed a street that works for everyone,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, NACTO and GDCI Chair and Principal with Bloomberg Associates. “Designing Streets for Kids shows how cities can lead by design to improve the quality of life for people everywhere.”

Most streets were not built with children in mind, and current street conditions in many places are unwelcoming and unsafe for kids. Traffic crashes kill 1.35 million people every year and they are the leading cause of death for young people ages 5-29. Traffic congestion and vehicle designs can also contribute to dangerously high levels of air pollution, which is responsible for the death of 127,000 children under the age of five each year. Many of these fatalities are preventable, and these numbers can be dramatically reduced through kid-friendly street design.   

Poor street design also has negative consequences for children’s physical and mental health. Streets that are noisy and/or hostile to pedestrians and transit users tend to discourage physical activity, which deprives children of independent mobility and opportunities to exercise and play. 

Offering detailed diagrams and rich graphics, Designing Streets for Kids captures best practices, strategies, programs, and policies used globally by cities from Bogotá to Moscow. The guide pays special attention to street redesigns in key places, such as schools and neighborhood streets, as well as high-traffic areas including commercial streets and intersections. With a dedicated chapter on “How to Make Change Happen,” the guide also shows how to implement and scale-up street redesign plans, highlighting tactics to engage children throughout the planning process—an often-overlooked approach that can dramatically transform how streets are designed and used. 

“While urban design challenges affect all children, they are especially stark for children in low-income and historically underserved communities,” said Skye Duncan, Director of NACTO-GDCI. “Reliable mobility options and access to safe, healthy streets is a human right, and Designing Streets for Kids provides actionable strategies for ensuring equitable access to these vital public spaces.” 

“Children are the most vulnerable people on city streets, and their safety should come first,” said Michael Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Former Mayor of the City of New York. “But until recently, streets were designed around automobiles—not people. We’ve begun to change that, and it’s saving a lot of lives. This guide will help more cities take action, and make their streets safer and better for residents of all ages.”

For the full press release please click here.

Source: Global Designing Cities Initiative.

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