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Urban Design Guidelines for Child Friendly Neighbourhoods


Location Client Completion
India Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) for Ministry of Housing and Urban Infrastructure (MoHUA), Govt. of India 2019 February

Project details

Our Indian studio has developed a comprehensive package of urban design measures for neighbourhoods in Indian cities that support the health and wellbeing of children up to the age of five. This study forms a part of the Indian Smart Cities Mission for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and is funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation from Netherlands.

Special emphasis has been given to the target group needs of creating safe and playful spaces for infants and toddlers, accessible and inclusive areas for caregivers, especially women; and promoting balanced and green strategies within the neighbourhood. The package consists of five guides. The Framework lays out the rationale for making improvements to Indian neighbourhoods and the impact of the built environment in early childhood and establishes a vision and five objectives for creating safe, playful, accessible, green and inclusive neighbourhoods. An Evaluation and Monitoring guide includes a comprehensive list of 65 data indicators with Service Level Benchmarks to assess the existing conditions and monitor progress. Design Guidelines provide detailed urban design guidance on how to implement key ITCN features. The Policy Workbook links the design guidelines to policy: providing an analysis of current spatial policy and identifying opportunities for change according to the needs of families in the neighbourhoods. The Best Practices gives visual examples of successful projects that can be used for discussion both internally and with the public for a shared vision of goals.


  • to prepare a highly implementable set of guidelines to support a healthier, safer, more inclusive future development of Indian neighborhoods, specifically for infants, toddlers and caregivers


  • five implementable set of guidelines to be used throughout the country – Framework Guideline, Evaluation Metrics, Design Guidelines, Policy Workbook, and Best Practices Compendium
  • inclusive growth and focusing on the needs of ITCs in Smart Cities
  • help Smart Cities build the capacities to participate in future economic growth
  • efficiently improve wellbeing
  • systematically build and maintain health–first infrastructure and services close to where families live
  • equip the city level planning and engineering officials with the tools they need to create a holistic neighbourhood where families will thrive
  • upskilling city managers with the language and rationale of child development, to enable officials to make sound decisions on their own and to be able to defend their thinking in front of an audience
  • creating a transferrable ITC knowledge database and providing applicable guidelines across 100 Smart Cities for the benefit of ITCs in particular and cities in general

Integrated services

urban design, spatial design, inclusive design, urban planning, child psychology