Small Children, Big Cities, New Delhi, November 2014

A national conference ‘Small Children, Big Cities: Building Smart Child-Friendly Cities for 21st-century India’, was held on 28 and 29 November 2014 in New Delhi, India. This conference organized by the Bernard van Leer Foundation with support from the National Institute of Urban Affairs and the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India was inaugurated by Mr. Mr Venkaiah Naidu, Minister of Urban Development, Government of India. The conference was a step towards a pioneering initiative where people, institutions and governments discussed ways in which inclusive, livable and smart cities, being envisaged for the future will respond and accommodate children. The conference explored sustainable cities from the perspective of children. Participants included government officials, mayors and city managers, urban experts from India and abroad, professionals engaged in urban design, planning and infrastructure development, in addition to NGOs, activists, educationalists and cultural workers. They shared best practices and innovations from India and around the world and deliberated on strategies and approaches to the subject of child friendly cities in India, which by their very nature are also applicable to the needs of women and the aged. Fifty children from different cities participated in the conference. The participants deliberated on issues concerning urban infrastructure and services, such as housing, water supply and sanitation, healthcare and early childhood services, as well as issues regarding the quality of recreational spaces for children, the transportation and mobility needs of children, and the safety of children in our cities.