London/New Delhi: An innovative smartphone app is aimed at revolutionising the way urban life can be mapped to create child-friendly cities. It is also helping increase children’s participation in urban planning.
‘Map My Community’, designed by children and young people from Delhi, is aimed at initiating change in the communities by collecting data and identifying basic needs of children.
The project collects evidence about the experiences of children and young people in informal settlements across the city. It also aims to influence city master plans, zonal development plans and urban development policies, thereby leading to creation of child-friendly cities.
Through initial mapping of data, construction of toilets has been identified as a priority need of the community in Badarpur.
Data collected from the project and problem analysis from Humara Bachpan Campaign’s Children-led planning process were used to submit a detailed charter of demands to the local authorities, who recently released government funds to re-build the public toilet.
Work has begun on the construction of new toilets in the area.
Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill, lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham who is leading the project, said, “Impacts are already emerging from this innovative way of working. For young people to see the benefits of their work, first-hand, in their community is really incredible.”
“Over the coming months, we will support children’s participation in urban planning and help them push for urban spaces which support young people’s lives,” said the doctor.
A 14-year-old girl, one of the youngest to take part in the project said, “This is the first time I have ever seen an application that pays attention to the problems faced by children and takes our views and opinions. Thank you!”
Another participant, a boy aged 13, added, “The unique thing about this app is that it allows us to express our issues in an easy way.”
The University of Birmingham and Humara Bachpan Campaign have collaborated for the project, funded by UK-based Economic and Social Research Council.
Currently, 150 child leaders from 20 communities across Delhi are collecting data for the project.