The City of New Orleans shares goals for a child-friendly city

The New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families (OYF) presented Goals for a Child-Friendly New Orleans at the Neighborhood Summit on November 9, 2019. For the past nine months OYF has been working closely with Arup, PlayBuild and Tulane University on a vision for a child-friendly New Orleans that was generated through a collaborative workshop with New Orleans youth leadership, community representatives, and a range of city agencies and organizations in July. 

Children stand to be disproportionately impacted by the decisions made today regarding climate change, transportation, safety, economic opportunity, and public health. However, urban planning has not traditionally prioritized children’s needs. A child-friendly design effort in New Orleans would respond to the needs of the youth, who represent over 25 percent of the city’s population.

The Goals for a Child-friendly New Orleans publication includes a comprehensive set of recommendations across four themes: safety, nature and sustainability, health and well-being, and stronger communities. Building upon existing city and non-profit initiatives that are currently underway, Goals for a Child-Friendly New Orleans offers a framework for all stakeholders to streamline efforts around a common vision.


When we design a New Orleans that truly puts children’s interests first, we create a New Orleans that shows love to all her people. ” LaToya Cantrell Mayor, City of Louisiana

The project seeks to mobilize city leadership to think beyond playgrounds when it comes to urban design. The Goals for a Child-Friendly New Orleans publication highlights opportunities to design and build a network of places and spaces for children that are sensitive to their physical development and everyday needs.

PlayBuild Founder Angela Kyle said, “The convergence of the Cantrell administration’s focus on youth and families and the significant volume of infrastructure investment poised to happen over the next several years creates the potential for New Orleans to reinvent the built environment in a way that improves measurable outcomes for kids. This is an opportunity for generational impact, and we are excited to partner with the City, Arup, and the Tulane School of Architecture on the child-friendly cities initiative.”

Margaret Newman, Principal, Arup, said, “We congratulate the City of New Orleans for being one of the first cities in the U.S. to prioritize children by creating the Office of Youth and Families. With our accomplished partners — PlayBuild and Tulane — Arup is excited to bring our research and strategy to explore in real time the broader themes of public health, sustainability, resilience and safety to realize with the City of New Orleans a child-friendly city. Arup has been working in cities around the world to develop prototypes for how infrastructure and design can support the planning and building of cities to support the needs of people of all ages.”

Arup’s publication, Cities Alive: Designing for Urban Childhoods, describes how urban settings can play host to a network of spaces, beyond playgrounds, intentionally designed to create a citywide system of ‘children’s infrastructure’ that is sensitive to the physical development and evolving needs and behaviors of kids as they grow.  

Casius Pealer, Director of Tulane’s Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development, said, “Over 20 percent of New Orleans residents are under 18 years old, meaning that none of them have a formal vote in our political decisions and planning processes — yet we need those residents to love and enjoy New Orleans as much as the other 80 percent of us do. From a real estate development perspective, Mayor Cantrell’s commitment to a child-friendly New Orleans means that our City is ripe for major long term physical investment, emotional investment, and yes financial investment.”