Children playing

UNICEF Ecuador on Flickr

Transforming our cities is also important for children

2020 was a year of great challenges at an international scale, and it created a critical situation that had a range of consequences on a number of different population groups, including children. The crisis can and should serve as a starting point for a paradigm shift in the way we think about our cities. Given that about a third of the 4 billion people living in urban areas are children (UNICEF, Child Friendly Cities initiative), it is undeniable that, in order for the transformation processes of large metropolises to be successful, they must be carried out with a child-friendly approach.

Rethinking our metropolitan environments today gives local and regional governments the opportunity to work hand in hand with children, listen to their experiences and needs, and allow them to participate in urban design and planning. Today, more than ever, it is very important to listen carefully to the perspectives and vision of children and ensure that they are included in the design of public policies to face current and future challenges.

This approach is directly related to the concept of children’s participation. This idea—recognised in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and in the New Urban Agenda—lies at the heart of Metropolis' vision, as we imagine metropolitan spaces as regions of peace in which continuous and meaningful political participation allows citizens have their voices heard and inspires political leaders to listen. We believe that when an urban space is planned and built to meet the needs of children, this also has a direct impact on the quality of life and health of the rest of society. Children’s involvement in the design, implementation and monitoring of policies and programmes that address their well-being is essential to encourage inclusion and comply with the principles of the SDGs.

Metropolis, through children’s eyes is an initiative started by Metropolis—with support from UCLG—that is an off-shoot of the Call to rethink our metropolitan spaces. The Call was launched in mid-2020 to encourage cities to use their responses to the Covid-19 pandemic as catalysts for the long-term transformation of metropolitan spaces.

This initiative aims to promote awareness and spark a conversation about how children's lives have changed during the pandemic and how they play a central role in rethinking metropolitan spaces.

What does the contest involve?

The contest encourages children between the ages of 5 and 14 to express their needs, dreams and ideas for the city of the future through drawings. The winners will be announced at the 13th Metropolis World Congress and the competition is open for entries

Metropolis, through children’s eyes, is a contest created so that, through artistic expression, we can understand the perspective and expectations of children when facing the challenges of the future, as well as the innovative solutions they can imagine to improve life in our cities and respond to the changes brought about by the pandemic.


For more information on the competition, please visit