The concept of the Child Friendly City is being tested in a number of cities around the world. ZCD Architects were asked by Policy Studies Institute to organise an event focusing on London Borough of Hackney, looking at the issues and what opportunities there might be for creating a child friendly borough within ten years . Forty participants, from academics to developers, policy makers and children’s experts convened for a day of presentations and idea forming at Haggerston Community Centre in East London. 

In the morning Dinah Bornat, Ben Shaw and Helen Forman presented their respective research work into children's independent mobility, play and policy. This was followed by international examples of intervention from Rita Wapperom of Rotterdam and Marketta Kytta of Helsinki.

In the afternoon participants explored the local area in groups, making observations and taking photographs. On their return they presented ideas to the audience, including the Mayor of Hackney, about how the spaces they had seen could become more child friendly. 

ZCD Architects intend to keep developing the idea of a Child Friendly City with Hackney Council in the coming months.

Photographs courtesy Madeleine Waller.


Participants used Instagram to create quick presentations with the hashtag #hackney2026. Click on the images below to go the account and read their ideas and comments.