Press Releases November 20, 2019

Press Release: Four Global Cities to Receive In-Depth Training and Resources for Building Child-Friendly Streets

By the end of a year-long engagement, each city is expected to implement a child-focused street transformation project

November 20, 2019

Contact: Annie Peyton | | +1 347-425-4628

The Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI), a program of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), announced that four cities—Fortaleza, Brazil; Kigali, Rwanda; Santiago, Chile; and Tirana, Albania—have been selected for in-depth technical assistance and training, along with supplemental funding to develop child-friendly streets as part of GDCI’s Streets for Kids program, which aims to advance street designs that create safe public space for kids of all ages and abilities to learn, play, and move about a city.

Using GDCI’s upcoming Designing Streets for Kids design guidance, each city will receive a training and workshop from GDCI, identify sites for a street transformation project; engage kids in the design process; and develop a design for a temporary intervention that transforms a street or intersection into a safer, more playful space that invites use by children, caregivers, and others. The four cities were selected from an applicant pool of nearly 100 applications from around the world.

Eight additional cities have been awarded workshops, where staff will facilitate an in-depth training to advance child-focused street design. The selected cities are Cape Town, South Africa; Colima, Mexico; Kazan, Russia; Lima, Peru; Pasig (Metro Manila), Philippines; Tbilisi, Georgia; Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA; and Udaipur, India.

“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. “Putting everyone in the street on equal footing is how cities can lead by design and achieve higher standards of urban care.”

“Safe streets are essential so that everyone in cities can have access to the same opportunities and the same quality of life, said Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana. “This partnership will help give our youngest residents and their caregivers the option to get around as safely and easily on foot, bus or bike as anyone in a car.”

“The future of Fortaleza needs and is being built as a legacy for our children,” said Roberto Claudio, Mayor of Fortaleza. “Urban design is the most important thing we can do to make streets safer for everyone. To move this work forward, we can start today with Streets for Kids and building streets from a child’s perspective.”

“This exciting partnership will help transform Kigali’s people-first Open Streets interventions into projects on the street—and designed through the eyes of kids,” said Fred Mugisha, Director of the City of Kigali’s Urban Planning and Construction One Stop Center. “This program is an important step in making Kigali a kid-first city.”

“Streets designed for the safety of children aren’t just safer, they are the foundation of a city with less driving, less traffic, less pollution, and a greater lifetime of healthy activity for everyone in Santiago,” said Gonzalo Duran Baronti, Mayor of Independencia, Santiago de Chile.

“Streets built to the standard of babies, toddlers and their caregivers have human impacts that extend far beyond the curb,” said Cecilia Vaca Jones, Program Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. “Safer, more accessible, stimulating and people-friendly streets reduce stress for young children and support healthy early childhood development, improving their ability to learn, create, imagine, play and grow to leave better lives.”

“Road traffic crashes kill 1.35 million people every year and are the leading cause of death for young people ages 5-29. We can prevent many of these deaths through holistic approaches, including better street design to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Kelly Larson, Director of Road Safety and Drowning Prevention Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The Global Street Design Guide helped change the way we think about our streets and now Streets for Kids will help refine and focus these proven life-saving strategies for our most vulnerable road users.”

“To understand what makes a street safe means we need to listen to and consider what children need in order to live, cross, and play on them,” said Susanna Hausmann-Muela, Chief Program Officer of Fondation Botnar. “Streets for Kids is unique not just in its focus on children but because it will incorporate them into the design process, yielding streets safe enough to support them.”

“Every child has a right to healthy, safe streets and clean air to breathe,” said Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation. “Child-friendly urban design is a cost-effective choice for cities that are truly invested in better environments for our children. That is why we are delighted to support in-depth training and resources around the world to demonstrate the universal potential and impact of the Global Designing Cities Initiative’s Designing Streets for Kids guidance.”

GDCI’s Streets for Kids program is supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, FIA Foundation, Fondation Botnar, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Learn more about the selected cities and follow the progress of the program at


About the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI)

Launched in 2014 as a program of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), the Global Designing Cities Initiative focuses on transforming streets to inspire safe, sustainable, and healthy cities. GDCI’s work is informed by the strategies and international best practices captured in the Global Street Design Guide. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @globalstreets.

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