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Global Designing Cities Initiative Releases Designing Streets for Kids in Spanish

Acclaimed urban design resource, focusing on children and caregivers, now accessible to millions more practitioners around the globe.

(Spanish press release here)


June 14, 2022

The Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) today released the Spanish translation of Designing Streets for Kids—a supplement to 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 caregivers as pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users in urban streets around the world.

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. 

“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,” said Skye Duncan, Executive Director of GDCI. “With the translation of this award-winning publication, millions more people across the globe can access this information in their native language, helping to ensure that more kids survive and thrive on their local streets.”

“Guayaquil has great commitments to its children, one of the most important is to provide them with safe spaces for their mobility and recreation,” said Cynthia Viteri, Mayor of Guayaquil. “The Spanish translation of Designing Streets for Kids opens the door for decisions to be made on road safety projects and programs proposals based on the needs of children as one of the main users on our streets.”

“The Covid 19 pandemic and the long confinements that our children have suffered require us to respond effectively to provide our cities with safe streets for children,” said Javier Vergara Petrescu, Co-founder and Executive Director of Ciudad Emergente. “The good news is that today there is a growing interest in prioritizing cities for children and their caregivers and the Streets for Kids guide is an excellent tool to achieve this goal.”

“If you design a street that works for kids, you’ve designed a street that works for everyone,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, 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.”

GDCI’s Streets for Kids program is generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bernard Van Leer Foundation, the FIA Foundation, and Fondation BotnarDesigning Streets for Kids can be viewed and downloaded for free here.


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