Sustainable development and circular economies

The Children’s Smart City

Contemporary cities seem to have forgotten children. The needs of the adult worker guide urban space redevelopment work, leaving in the corner the space for the small citizens of tomorrow. While parking areas increase and traffic lights are replaced with roundabouts to facilitate the circulation of traffic, areas dedicated for the play and enjoyment of the young tend to disappear. ‘The Children’s Smart City’ is a project that aims to introduce a new philosophy of municipal governance starting from the child. It is based on the assumption that everyone would live better in a city which was designed and built to cater for the needs of the young. This project involves, on the one hand, the governance of the city which involves promoting the participation of children and on the other hand, their freedom of movement, which will be regained through a better knowledge of the area.

The initiatives proposed by the project have to overcome the resistance from typical, Italian, cultural traits. The perception of insecurity and danger leads parents to impede their children from embracing autonomy. However, we can’t just blame the parents, in fact the main cause of the phenomenon can be traced back to the environmental factors of the city; traffic, pollution, the organization of public spaces and the characteristics of city centres. To the cultural problem, therefore, we can add an economic problem, in terms of the investment needed to make the urban environment safe in the eyes of parents and therefore suitable for restoring autonomy to their children.

A concrete help to overcome these economic difficulties and cultural resistance can be provided by technology. Today, smart technologies today offer a wealth of tools to bring the city closer to the citizen, by offering solutions that meet the needs of adults and children alike, and also by contributing to the cultural changes necessary for a ‘children’s smart city’. This conference offers an in-depth look at this topic, with the aim of offering effective and efficient solutions