Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
Creating Sustainable Cities for Children
By 2050 more than 70% of the World’s population will live in cities. With the world becoming increasingly urban what does this mean for the children living in cities? This was the topic that stimulated a robust discussion at this morning’s 21st Built Environment Seminar hosted by MILE in partnership with eThekwini Municipality’s Long Term Development Planning, at the Durban Botanic Gardens Conference Centre. 

About 60 eThekwini Municipal officials and academics from Durban universities participated in the Seminar which featured presentations and a facilitated discussion session.

The seminar commenced with a presentation from Ms Aamena Desai, an urban designer and architect representing ARU​P, an international independent firm of urban planners and designers. ARUP produced the Cities Alive: Designing for Urban Childhoods Report which cites seven key messages as what can be done to address the identified core challenges of urban childhoods. It places an emphasis on incorporating children in the design and planning of urban spaces, meeting the recreational needs of children with intention and by design.

In her presentation Desai urged participants to consider children when planning and designing cities emphasising that with new urbanised environments children are becoming less active. Using case studies from Bogota and Notre Dame, Desai provided positive examples of how public spaces for children can be created. “The network of spaces, streets, nature and interventions make up the key features of a child-friendly city. Playful behaviours and freedom to explore should be part of everyday life, throughout the city,” said Desai. 

Ms Thembekile Mbatha, Senior Professional Planner at eThekwini Municipality’s Development and Planning Unit presented the City’s perspective in terms of public spaces for children. “There are spaces within the City that can be created into play and recreational places for children. Many global concepts of planning for children exists but it is important to apply these to the African context and find solutions which are unique for us,” said Mbatha. 

According to the latest United Nations (UN) estimate last year, the world's population is expected to rise from 6.7 billion in 2007 to 9.2 billion in 2050. Over the same span, the new report said, the total population of urban areas is projected to rise from 3.3 billion to 6.4 billion. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities addresses that better urban planning and management are needed to make the world’s urban spaces more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Within MILE’s mandate of creating awareness on SDGs, the Built Environment Seminar challenged academics and officials to rethink how cities are planned and designed for children. 

Download Presentations below:

 BESS 21-Presentations

Aamena Desai-ARUP.pdf
15/06/2018 14:44
Thembekile Mbatha-eThekwini Municipality.pdf
15/06/2018 14:48

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