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WINNING CITIES 2020 - 2021

We’re proud of the winning city-wide approaches that shape the system, strategy & long term investment in playful cities.

Child friendly cities - Tirana

Tirana has been developing a multi-scale child friendly, playable city vision as a main pillar of social development and inclusion. That vision is supported by cross-sectoral local strategic documents i.e. the “Green City Action Plan” and the “Tirana General Local Plan 2030,” which set targets to improve the well-being of children such as: increasing accessibility to safe green spaces for children and the rehabilitation of schoolyards into community centers. That vision foresees a fundamentally playable
city, where children from infancy through teenage-hood have equal, convenient access to public spaces that support their developmental needs; and that by being considered a key constituency of the public administration, they develop a sense of importance and expectation of excellence of the public good. Seen as a whole, the transformations of public space create a model of urban change that cities—especially those with severe budget constraints—can learn from and replicate.

Special Mentions

Afuera Strategy - Zapopan

In the Municipality of Zapopan there are 346,692 kids who until a few years ago have not been taken into account in the design of their city, excluding them from this fundamental right. Therefore, since 2018 Zapopan bet on turning its territory into a more friendly city that would respond to the needs of children.

Through the Afuera Strategy, which is part of the Zapopan Ciudad de los Niños Program, seeks to incorporate international recommendations such as those of the Network of Cities Friendly to Girls and Boys through urban planning. The Strategy Afuera allows a co-design model to be used in the recovery of public space, where only kids decide on the content of the public space in their community. It consists of
the materialization of participatory budgeting exercises led by children. The ultimate goal of the strategy is to include kids in the construction of their city.

Pop-Up Playgrounds - Istanbul

Istanbul is home to 4 million children. Elected in 2019, our mayor is committed to making Istanbul a child-friendly city, focusing particularly on early childhood. In our current term, we began building 150 daycare centers to serve 15,000 children and offering mothers with toddlers free public transportation.

We launched Istanbul95 in partnership with Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvL).
Recognizing play as a fundamental children’s right, we recently appointed a Chief of Play and Recreation and began preparing Istanbul’s Master Plan for Play. In addition to improving existing playgrounds and building new ones, we launched “HOP Pop-Up Playgrounds”, where we organize staffed, creative play events all across Istanbul, focusing especially on young children who have fewer opportunities and spaces for play in the city.


After achieving this in a city of 16 million, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) would love to share its model and know-how with the rest of the world.

LIMA95 - Zona de Calma - Lima

Here within the City of Lima, we are working closely with Mayor Muñoz and his General Manager to transform Lima into a safe, healthy, playful and green city for children and their caregivers. Within the Department of Social Development, we’ve launched an entire citywide child-focused initiative, called Lima95, of which we have multiple projects to advance child-friendly, safe and playful urban spaces throughout the city. All our projects are based on a lighter-quicker-cheaper model that uses limited resources to create big transformation and change the lives of our youngest Limeños. We’re also working to memorialize our successful design strategies and best practices, because if Lima can improve their city for children, we believe all cities can, even during this devastating pandemic, in which Peru, and Lima specifically, has suffered one of the worst death tolls of any country worldwide.

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