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05 Sep 12

Child in the City Conference, Zagreb - Croatia


Play in nature was once again celebrated among the discussion about play space at Child in the City Conference in Zagreb, Croatia September 26 to 28, 2012. Organized by Child in the City Foundation in partnership with European Network of Child Friendly City, Zagreb city Authority, Central Coordinating Committee of Croatia Child Friendly Towns and District Program, and Unicef. The conference was attended by delegates from Europe and all over the world including Canada, Japan, Australia, Iran, Africa, South America, Turki, as well as Indonesia.


Four themes namely Play, Children’s Right, Health, and Intergenerational Development have been discussed in this international conference. Abstracts from around the world have been chosen selectively to gather and share local experiences. Ars86care has been granted to present “Child Oriented Development, an Envision towards Child Friendly City in Urban Design Practice” under Children’s Right theme. The research is based on a research study conducted by ars86care team and the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection.


Starting with human being purposes to live as “vicegerent of earth” as background philosophy, child health and welfare may become a good indicator on livable city in general. Based on 2010 census, 34.26% of total population of Indonesia (237,641,326) is children. It is a demographical bonus for Indonesia, but it is also become a big responsibility to grow and raise children to develop their full potential. Borrowing reason why a city or municipality should turn on children from child in the city conference: “When children are playing, the street becomes their street, the square their square, the district their district, the city becomes their city and their domain. The children become part of the city. If we are concerned about the future of any city, we must consider how to involve children in its network, and in its economic and social life. And the best way to involve children is through play - children are really experts at playing. The city must create space for them to stimulate their expertise and it can also profit from this expertise.” Play is just one aspect on Children’s Right fulfillment beside children’s right to be registered, to be accommodated in forum, to be informed, to be well develop in family or foster care, to get better education and basic health services, to be served even in difficulties for instances children in disaster area, children in poor condition, children with disability, children in court, etc.


The discussion leads to Child Friendly City implementation in hierarchical order from city and municipalities authority level, families and communities, to individual. In the level of Cities and municipalities’ authority level, there is a need to educate public and build public opinion to advocate politician to pay more attention to children’s basic need and right.

In the level of communities and families, children’s right should be well informed especially to those who work as children facilitators. Families and communities may become push factors to facilitate children’s need in their living place. Moreover, communities and families may become children guardian in a sense of social control of an area. Individually, children should have equal opportunity to develop their full potential.


It is about time the government from national level to local level, private enterprises, local community, teachers and children facilitators, and parents to further focus on children growth and development in Child Friendly City. It is our responsibility as stakeholders of cities and municipalities to build strong and good character children as our future will be on their hands.


05 Sep 2012