Bhubaneswar Child Friendly Public Space Design Guidelines
Bhubaneswar set an ambitious goal to better serve one-tenth of its population: children. IBI Group developed the nation’s first Child Friendly Public Space Design Guidelines for the city. We then put this framework into action, creating several safe, healthy, low-cost child-friendly play spaces for underprivileged children in just three months.
ClientBhubaneswar Development Authority
Creating a cityscape where children can thrive
Children make up almost 10 per cent of the population in Bhubaneswar, but public spaces were not designed with children in mind. To better meet the needs of its youngest residents, Bhubaneswar set a goal to attain the status of a Child Friendly Smart City, a designation granted by the National Institute of Urban Affairs.
As the city’s program management consultant, IBI Group curated India’s first-ever Child Friendly Public Space Design Guidelines for Bhubaneswar. These create a framework for city leaders to think beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to public space design, which often fails and excludes children.
Instead, the guidelines encourage the creation of parks, playgrounds, streets and public institutions that meet children’s needs for safety, accessibility, legibility, learning and environmental sustainability. The guidelines promote collaboration between city authorities and communities to ensure projects effectively enhance the quality of life for residents.
We went beyond developing the guidelines to test their impact in the field. Drawing on the child-friendly framework and taking an innovative approach to design and funding, we rapidly created multiple new play spaces to fill a significant need for many underprivileged children in Bhubaneswar. We initiated collaborations, secured sponsors, conducted community engagement, developed low-cost play equipment and crafted designs incorporating sustainable materials. Ultimately, we brought five new play areas to life in just three months.
This successful first implementation of the new child-friendly design framework shows how it provides a previously missing technical foundation for the development of similar projects, from ideation to operations.
Once adopted as a statutory document, Bhubaneswar’s Child Friendly Public Space Design Guidelines will continue to guide the creation of safer, healthier, more inclusive, resilient and community-led public spaces. The guidelines will continue to facilitate improvements in the quality of life for the city’s children and families and set a standard for cities throughout India to emulate.