Some public spaces are not truly “public” as they exclude certain groups. Children often feel excluded due to non-inclusive architectural design, absence of safety standards, and general fear of abuse or crime. Adults too perceive these conditions of lack of safety and often restrict children from those perceived unsafe spaces, as it is easier than trying to make those spaces safe.
Urban planning and development is assumed to be neutral. But this is often not the case. Infrastructure such as housing, water supply, playgrounds, toilets, roads, transport services, etc. that seemingly respond to diverse needs of able and disabled males and females of all age groups are more often focused on an able bodied adult male. Urban planners continue to assume that what is good for adult males is good for children, women, elderly and the disabled and that they have similar needs and aspirations as adult males. This is far from the reality. 
An inclusionary approach alone can counter the existing exclusionary tendencies related to infrastructure, access, mobility, etc that restrict children from public spaces. Praxis engaged in participatory research with children living in urban slums to understand the problems with infrastructure. Subsequently, Praxis formulated a child-led participatory plan for building inclusive cities with active contributions from children, child rights experts, sector leaders and urban planners. We look at the engagement with urban development functionaries towards building child-friendly cities.
Praxis evolved an interactive manual for town planners on child-friendly plans and urban planning that is inclusive, particularly of the needs of children. To access the manual, click here: Cities for Kids



      Praxis carried out consultations with young homeless children in Delhi to unpack the issue of safe spaces and map the context. This was to understand the difference in perspective that children living in slums had compared to homeless children who also access similar public infrastructure. Different tools were used understand issues of safety and to help identify gaps as well as aspirations that children have for safer spaces.

      The team also interacted with two other groups of young children from Bhubaneswar, who formed Child Clubs run uder the Humara Bachpan Campaign. These processes were to understand how child clubs are an empowering engagement that enables children to collectivise and emerge as advocates for issues affecting them and making spaces they access safer for them by engaging with different government officials including the Mayor as also the community members and leaders.

      The team also visited Bhavnagar and met with Shaishav, an organisation that plays a facilitative role in the formation of collectives for children, adolescents and youth and acts as a resource organisation for other organisations working on issues related to children and youth. There are three collectives Bal Sena (8 to 18 years), Tarun Sena (18- 25 years) and Lok Samarthan Manch (Community based pressure group). This was to understand alternative models of child participation. 

      Praxis organised a series of meetings with individuals and at institutions to bring together a core team of advisors who could provide inputs to the process on an on-going basis. This group comprised of: 
      • Dr. Ruchita Gupta, Assistant Professor, Department of Housing, School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi
      • Prof. Urvi Desai, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad
      • Mr. Indu Prakash Singh, Housing Rights Activist, Development Practitioner
      • Mr. P D Ashok, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and 
      • Ms. Rashmi Singh, Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW)
      • Dr. Gupta, Prof Desai and Mr. Indu Prakash continued to support the process through the course of the year in different ways. 

      1. Children who participated in various processes

      2. Advisory group

      3. Presenters of the national consultation

      4. Child-Friendly Plan - advisors

      5. Capacity building participants

      6. Team Praxis

      7. Creatives


      Ever Participatory story telling is the process of telling a story – the story of an individual, a group, an institution, a place or more. The story can be told using images, illustrations, posters, words and/or photographs. It is an empowering process, and often a cathartic one, where the participant/s view their situation and experience from different perspectives while telling the story. It can also be digitised using audio-visual technology.

      As part of the engagements with children, Praxis facilitated digital stories to understandig the main issues children faced and their aspirations.

      Jaha Cha Waha Raah
      Digital Story made by children living in urban slums who tell the story of Mariam, a young girl from the slum area of Delhi and describe the conditions and infrastructure around her that constricts her movements and opportunities.

      Watch the video here or read the story here.

      Hamara Aaj aur Hamara Kal
      This DST made by children living in urban slums in Delhi relates the story of Muskaan and her surroundings. Her neighbourhood is dirty and community toilets are unhygienic, while Muskaan's school has no fans and no place to sit. 

      Watch her story here or read it here.

      Children living in urban slums and shelters for the homeless in Delhi made a participatory video 'Satya Ye Kadve Hain (Bitter Truths)' to voice their concerns about the living conditions they are exposed to and chart out their demands for child-friendly urban safe spaces that should be kept in mind during slum redevelopment.

      The video was made by Aamir, Feroz, Imrana, Himanshi, Sohail, Rajnikant, Pooja, Nagma, Keshav and Naushad and can be viewed here.


      Through engagement with children, sector experts, child rights activists and urban development functionaries, Praxis evolved a handbook and a training manual documenting the experiences of children from slums across India related to eight spaces and tools that could be useful in such interactions. The eight spaces are: Housing, Sanitation, Water, Open Spaces, Education, Road and Transport, Air & Soil, Power.

      To view the Handbook on Child-Led Planning for Inclusive Cities, click here

      Taking this further, Praxis evolved an interactive manual for town planners on child-friendly plans and urban planning that is inclusive, particularly of the needs of children. To access the manual, click here: Cities for Kids

      A theme paper developed for a consultation on toilets for children is available for view here.

      Praxis, through a participatory process, evolved child-friendly plans to make urban planning an inclusive process. The child-friendly plans acknowledge that an adult, able-bodied male is often the default beneficiary in any planning process and aims to shift this focus to a poor, differenrly-abled girl living in urban slums. 


      Three such plans were reviewed and modified with a child lens.

      Child-friendly Development Plan (Master Plan)

      Child-Friendly Development Plan - A case study from Madhya Pradesh

      Child-Friendly City Development Plan

      Child-Friendly City Development Plan - A case study from Madhya Pradesh

      Child-Friendly Detailed Project Report


    Praxis built the capacity of 86 planners, experts, child rights activists, urban development functionaries and architects through immersive capacity building sessions and a module at TheWorkshop2014.


      A module at the annual thematic commune on participatory development - TheWorkshop2014 - was dedicated to collectively learning how to create child-friendly cities using participatory methods. There were 14 participants at the module. After five days of exposure to different participatory tools, planning processes and children's voices, the participants interacted with children living in two slums in Bangalore. Children made resource maps of the slums they lived in and also mapped out the issues they faced in the infrastructure available there as well as aspirations they had from any subsequent plans.


      Praxis organised a series of immersive capacity building process with town planners, municipal officials and architects from across the country towards the larger goal of ensuring child participation in urban planning.

      The workshop aimed at a) exploring the significance and feasibility of involving children in urban planning and development b)learning child participation methods and approaches and c) providing first hand experience of a structured engagement with a group of slum children and d) discussing on applying learning in the functional context of the respective participants.

      Three sessions have been organised till date. Read more about them here:

      Immersive capacity building, Chennai, December 2014. Read report here

      Immersive Capacity Building in Bhubaneswar, March 2015. Read report here

      Immersive Capacity Building in Bhopal, August 2015. Read report here


    Feeding into discussions around SmartCities, Praxis facilitated two consultations in Chennai and Delhi and supported the proposal development process in Bhubaneswar.


      Taking part in these were the children who spoke at GROUND LEVEL VOICES FOR SMART CITIES, CHENNAI. Along with representatives of other marginalised groups such as urban poor and transgenders; children shared  their recommendations of what would make Smart Cities truly inclusive and child-friendly on the Chennai Corporation webpage. View the recommendations here.

      The event was covered by regional and national media. One such news clip from NDTV on What Smart Cities Means to Chennai's Deprived can be seen here.


      The Bhubhaneshwar Development Authority (BDA) and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation employed an extensive citizen engagement process to inform the smarter city proposal. The BDA invited Praxis to facilitate discussions with the citizens on what would constitute a smart city. Praxis hosted community labs with people from various backgrounds - slums, schools, resident welfare associations and traders’ associations - to understand their views on a Smart City. Click here for report.


      PPraxis facilitated processes with children in Jamghat to bring their voices on Smart Cities to the foreground of ongoing discussions. These children illustrated their vision of what makes a city Smart in these DIGITAL STORIES. These recommendations were submitted to the New Delhi Municipal Council.


      Their stories are available here: 

      Sajid’s story 

      Jasim's story

      Jahid's story

      Alam's story

      Soni's story




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