How a focus on child-friendliness revived one city’s fortunes

Building kid-friendly spaces are also building adult-friendly spaces. Even in cities with seemingly more pressing issues, focusing on making playful spaces goes a long way to alleviate tensions and allows space to focus on those big issues.

Rethinking Childhood

I have been aware of Rotterdam’s child-friendly cities initiatives for at least ten years. It is the most ambitious I know, with the biggest budgets and the clearest focus. I have visited projects in 2014 and 2017, and have been impressed by what I saw.

Rotterdam child-friendly city report cover

So I was excited to be back in the city last month as part of my Churchill Fellowship travels, and eager hear more of the city’s story. And I quickly learnt one thing: Rotterdam’s push to become more child-friendly is deeply linked to its history, economy, demographics and built form.

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