Children in an Urban World

Unicef recently published THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2012 – Children in an Urban World on scribd in digital format. The report gives us some background on the urban environment and the ever increasing number of children living in urban slums around the world. Usually when we think of poor children without access to water or food we often think of those in African nations in drought and famine ravage areas, but there are more children without water and food in urban environments.

The Unicef report outlines that as many as 1.6 billion people will be living in urban slums by 2020 many of whom will be children. As urban designers and planners we often are unable to come to terms with this problem, but we can try to ensure that when we design new cities or reinvigorate old ones that we understand the consequences of our design decisions.

Migration is a large part of China growth and urbanisaton with many families separated as one or more parents have to move into a city to obtain work to feed and house the family, this is nothing new and has been happening for centuries, but now migration is occurring across the world at an ever increasing rate and many children will be left behind or required to live in less than ideal situations. When designing cities we have to incorporate all types of housing and education facilities that provide access at a reasonable price for new residents to be able to afford.

In China there are many cultural, economic and social issues around the migration of rural residents to the new and existing cities across China. The current migration is the largest population shift and the fastest urbanisation of a nation that we will probably ever see. Children and their future will be a key part of the China as it comes to grips with an ageing population. China’s children their health, education and contribution to society is key to a successful China in the future.

The Unicef report raises many issues including Health, Water, Food, Education, Safety (road deaths of children is high due to the change to an urban environment) and as designers we need to address these issues which are primary issues we need to address but we also realise that we need to provide children with areas to explore, play and dream to become the worlds next artists, designers, scientists and more. I encourage people to read the Unicef report or at least the executive summary to understand the issue of children in our ever urbanising world.