Farvolden: Making cities more youth-friendly

Creating child-friendly cities was published on the Spacing Toronto blog on May 30, 2018. The article discusses the rising demographic of urban youth and the need for inclusive child-friendly design.

It also talks about Maximum City, a hands-on city-building and environmental education and engagement group that works with schools, governments, and communities to “learn and live in better cities.”

The youth outreach partner of the iCity-ORF project “Urban Informatics for Sustainable Metropolitan Growth,” Maximum City youth developed and tested YouthScore at the University of Toronto last summer.

Together with Esri, they produced the YouthScore Index and Survey Tool to assess the youth-friendliness of streets and neighbourhoods. The youth, with some expert guidance, came up with variables and weights for the Index.

The article concludes that a child-friendly built environment is the needed next step:

It is time to move beyond participation and research and into the much more fraught world of implementation of design solutions. We are very good at talking about child-friendly cities, and we are getting better at having children participate in the engagement and design process, but we are still fairly dismal at getting things done at the street and neighbourhood level. 

The piece was co-authored by Dr. Judy Farvolden, Executive Director of UTTRI, along with Maximum City’s Director Josh Fullan and technical support staff Angela Ma.

iCity: Urban Informatics for Sustainable Metropolitan Growth and its work is funded by the Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence (ORF-RE). iCity is a “virtual lab” for urban design in which “big” new datasets are combined with powerful simulation and visualization capabilities to address first-order problems in improving urban transportation system performance and designing efficient, sustainable, high quality of life cities. The iCity research platform is a co-creation of a team of multidisciplinary researchers, including transportation engineers, urban planners, computer scientists and experts in digital media.