Promoting Child Equity through Urban Planning


“Cities should provide safe, healthy and interesting environments because children need all three to develop correctly.”

In the second phase of Equity for Children’s Approaches to Equity study focused on urban environments, we conducted a series of interviews with practitioners, experts and urban planners. This interview features Irene Quintáns, Urban Planning Consultant – Urban95 Latin America at the Bernard van Leer Foundation.


Interview Highlights

  • Children suffer from inequities created by adults, namely, as upper classes go to great lengths to reduce opportunities for lower classes to move up in society.
  • In São Paulo, Brazil, a child-focused experience,“Centro Aberto”, upgraded troubled public squares to playgrounds for kids. The children of local squatters, living in densely populated buildings, were able to access these open spaces to play.
  • In order to design a successful equity approach in cities, urban planners must take into account proximity but alsothe ability for children to access places in a safe and healthy way.



Read the full interview transcript here.



Irene Quintáns has been working as a consultant to develop the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Urban95 strategy in Latin America since 2016. She joined the Harvard Executive Leadership Program on Early Childhood Development in 2017. Prior to this, Ms. Quintáns worked in the Barcelona City Council and in the SEHAB – Municipal Housing Secretariat in São Paulo (focusing on the Slum Upgrading Programme awarded by the UN – Scroll of Honor 2012). She is an urban planning consultant, specialized in projects and educational networks related to urban issues, with a strong focus on children and youngsters. Ms. Quintáns is the founder and director of the OCARA Network, a Latin American network set up to exchange experiences and projects on city, art, architecture and urban space with children. 


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