Bristol Child Friendly City Vision

In 2016, the Bristol Child Friendly City Working Group produced a Vision Statement, informed by conversations and consultation with many people across Bristol (including children and young people) throughout 2015. The following vision represents an evolving and iterative process with aims and actions which may develop over time.


"Our cities shape our future and our children will shape our cities"

* Approximately 25% of Bristol’s citizens are under 18. Yet children have no democratic rights of 
financial power and little control over their environment and life situation
* Children have their own questions, concerns, ideas and solutions to contribute to their city
* One day, children will be adult citizens, and their experiences now whilst growing up will shape 
their future choices, their behaviour, and the city we all live in.

For these reasons, child citizens need adults to act for and with them to uphold their rights and 
enable their full participation in the life of our city, for the benefit of all.

Aims for Bristol Child Friendly City
Our starting point for joint action and change is the public and civic life of children (especially those
under 14), outside of formal education: how can ALL children be better considered in the physical
and democratic ‘space’ of Bristol? This is underpinned by wider initiatives to create a safer, healthier,
more equal and connected city for everyone, and is endorsed by the three City Strategic Directors and
the elected Mayor.

In 2015 we consulted with voluntary and statutory organisations, children, young people, academics
(culminating in Bristol’s first Child Friendly City Symposium). As a result we have identified a three
part Vision, consisting of longer term aims, each with an ‘action for change’ that can be achieved in
the shorter term.

1/ All children have safe, independent mobility and access to the city of Bristol and its
resources, including streets, communities, green space, the city centre, play, sport, arts,
culture/youth culture
Children will have richer, healthier lives where they can discover, connect, pursue interests and
abilities, play, learn, enjoy, participate and grow up with a sense of belonging and ownership.
Children will be more present and visible, creating a truly inter-generational city.
FOCUS FOR ACTION/CHANGE: Free bus travel for under 16’s in Bristol

2/ All children feel heard and have a say in decision making on things that affect their lives 
Children will grow up to feel more trusted, equal, active citizens and engaged, empowered adults. 
Bristol will benefit from their unique perspectives and contributions, both now and in the future.
FOCUS FOR ACTION/CHANGE: 16 year olds able to vote in mayoral elections. Effective routes 
identified for civic/democratic participation of under 14’s.

3/ Adults in positions of power make decisions with all children in mind  
The planning of new places,  spaces and initiatives will consider the needs of children. Bristol will be
better for children and people of all ages, and more accountable to young citizens. 
FOCUS FOR ACTION/CHANGE: Children become a key consideration in any strategic city 

Every Bristol community group, organisation, agency and individual considering children’s needs 
and rights is already working towards Bristol being a child friendly city. Bristol CFC is about 
recognising that we can achieve far more for children together. Action may broaden to include other 
vital areas of children’s lives (education, health, social care, housing) where individuals and 
organisations are motivated to join together and act.

Download a copy of the Bristol Child Friendly City Vision.

The Bristol Child Friendly City network was initiated by three grass roots organisations: Architecture Centre,
Playing Out, and Room 13 Hareclive, in partnership with the University of Bristol.  It is inspired by UNICEF
Child Friendly Cities, a global initiative to develop child friendly cities/communities that embody the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.