National

‘Smart cities should be child-friendly’

Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu wants the smart cities proposed across the country to cater for the needs of children.

Speaking at the inauguration of a two-day conference on “Building smart child-friendly cities in India for 21st Century” here on Friday, the Minister said “harsh urban realities” were adversely affecting the “brain development and perspectives” of young children, particularly those from the economically weaker sections.

Deficient urban planning, the Minister said, resulted in an adverse impact on children in terms of poor behavioural and academic outcomes, high risk of diseases, inadequate early brain development and impaired physical development and skills.

He expressed concern over disproportionate appropriation of urban space and opportunities by the rich, and said that 41 million (about 26 per cent) of the 158 million children in the country lived in urban areas, eight million of them in slums.

Mr. Naidu urged urban planners, architects and stakeholders to aim at creating an enabling environment for children for their all-round development.

He said while urban planning in the country focussed on issues such as infrastructure development, sanitation and waste management, it was time city master-plans incorporated specific chapters to meet the needs of children.

Mr. Naidu called for providing adequate open spaces and play centres to nurture children’s creative faculties, and said “inclusive and child-sensitive” urban development strategies were the need of the hour.

The Bernard Van Leer Foundation has organised the conference, with support from the Union Urban Development Ministry, the National Institute of Urban Affairs and the School of Planning and Architecture.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 1:11:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/smart-cities-should-be-childfriendly/article6644537.ece

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