The City of Children by Francesco Tonucci
The project “The City of Children” created by Francesco Tonucci, was born in his hometown, the Marche city of Fano.
IThe Project addresses the crisis situation that the modern city experiences. A city that has responded to the needs of only one type of citizen; man, adult, worker and motorized. A city whose public space is not a meeting and entertainment scenario but rather a reality impregnated with serious traffic problems, congestion, insecurity and pollution.
The Project proposes listening to children, asking for their point of view, and listening to their ideas, protests and proposals to cause public policies to be imbued with the uniqueness and strength of children’s thoughts.. A thought that, unfortunately, we adults no longer remember.
The goal of the City of Children is to put children at the center of the city’s political decisions, in the knowledge that, as Tonucci says, if a city is good for children, it will be a good city for all categories of citizens.
The City of Children seeks to promote children’s independence of movement, seeking to get them to go out and walk the streets of their neighbourhoods again without fear. The Project asks the mayors to maintain a serious commitment towardsthe art. 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which guarantees children’s right to play, urging that all necessary measures be taken so that cities are playable, and that children can decide where, how, and what to play.
The Italian network
With the development of the “City of Children” project in the city of Fano, other Italian cities took inspiration from this innovative idea. They began to implement the proposals of the City of Children in their territory.
Cities like Pesaro, Palermo, Arezzo, San Giorgio a Cremano, Malnate and even the city of Rome and other cities have joined Tonucci’s project. Today those cities collaborate together forming the Italian network of the project.
With Francesco’s travels and his conferences abroad, a great interest in the Ibero-American world for the project was born, to the point that an international project network was born.
The international network
The international network is promoted by the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of the National Research Council ISTC-CNR which in 1996 set up the research group “The City of Children” and set up the international laboratory. Currently the international network is supported by the Regional Project: “Lazio the region of children”
The cities that have joined the international project during the last 32 years are more than 300 and belong to 15 countries of the world: Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Lebanon, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Mexico
The City of Children cities are organized into national, provincial, regional and local networks to facilitate the exchange of experiences and promote common actions.
Further information and all the information on the International Project, on the Italian network and on the network of the Lazio Region can be found on the official website of the City of Children.
The Latin American network
The Argentine city of Rosario joined the Project in 1996 and quickly managed to attract the attention of many other Argentine and Latin American cities, for its innovative strength, for the transformations undertaken, and above all, for its ability to listen to children. The Governor of the Province of Santa Fe, Hermes Binner, together with Francesco Tonucci summoned the mayors of Argentina and the Latin American region to create the first Latin American laboratory of the “City of Children” Project.
More than thirty mayors or representatives of the Province of Santa Fe and other cities in Argentina and Latin America (including Buenos Aires), Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia responded to the appeal. In 2009 they signed up to join the international project, and the Latin American network was born.
The country with the highest number of accessions today is Argentina.
THE ARGENTINA NETWORK
Since 2019, Argentina has had a network, a national coordination and two provincial networks: Santa Fe and Neuquén.
The national coordination is made up of the following representatives of the cities of Buenos Aires, Rosario, Arroyito and General Roca:
The last meeting of the Argentine national network was held in Buenos Aires in March 2023 with the presence of Francesco Tonucci and Lorena Morachimo.
The Argentine network maintains its commitment to the men’s network, promotes the campaign in diverse territories and has consolidated all important political issues, such as collaboration with the National Secretariat for Children, Adolescents and the Family (SENAF) and the Defensorìa de los Derechos de los niños y adolescentes de Argentina .
The network promotes various innovations, and thanks to the rich experience of its referents it is the first network where the training of Project coordinators has developed, initially in the Province of Neuquèn and later at a national level.
The Argentine network publishes a bimonthly bulletin which presents the good practices promoted by the children’s cities of the network. If you are interested in seeing the published issues of the Bulletin, click here
THE PROJECT IN BRAZIL
In 2018, by express will of the Mayor Luiz Fernando Machado, the Brazilian city of Jundiaí joined the Latin American network. It is the first city in Brazil to develop the Project “The city of CHildren”, realizing the ideas and proposals of Francesco Tonucci.
Thanks to work done by Mayor Machado, councillor Peroni and the entire government team of Jundiaì, of which the “Children’s Council” is a part, we have proposed to the city of Jundiaí to set up the national laboratory that promotes the creation and development of a Brazilian network. Jundiaì thus becomes the training and inspiration center for other Brazilian cities who wish to start their journey.
Jundiaí has also created a working group with Portuguese cities that are part of the international network.
In March 2023, the meeting of Brazilian cities took place with the presence of Francesco Tonucci and Lorena Morachimo and was joined by 15 Brazilian cities who committed themselves to developing the Project side by side with Jundiaí and the team of the ‘Association that follows the international project.
Marcelo Peroni Councilor for Culture of Jundiaì, he is the contact person for the Project for his city and the national coordinator of the Brazilian network
THE SPANISH NETWORK
At the end of the 90’s several Spanish cities of Catalonia and the Valencian Community had already joined the International Project and were working on developing the Project’s proposals. Slowly other realities joined such as cities of the Basque Country, Salamanca and Aragón.
The Spanish network was only founded in 2016 in Granada in a meeting that took place at the Museo Parque de las Ciencias. It is currently made up of about 40 cities that participate in the international project “The city of children” and various organizations such as museums, associations and universities. The first meeting, held in Granada, was followed by three others: one in Pontevedra (Galicia) in May 2017, another in Huesca (Aragon) in March 2018 and the fourth in February 2019 in Fuerteventura (Canary Islands). Within the national network, local networks have been activated such as the Basque Country Network or the Pontevedra Province Network.
The Spanish national coordination is made up of representatives of the following cities: Huesca, Carbajosa de la Sagrada, Gandia and Picanya:
Lidia Bañares, Rubèn Olivàn, Pedro Cenalmor, Alicia Cenalmor, Inma Beta, Liduvina Gil and Maria José Marti.
THE MEXICAN NETWORK
In 2019, the Mexican Agency for International Cooperation for Development AMEXCID convened several cities and entities in Mexico to participate in a meeting with Francesco Tonucci in Mexico City.
In this context, the Mexican Network was born with the adhesion of cities and institutions that decided to promote the project “The City of children” in the country’s various states.
THE LIMA NETWORK
In 2019, promoted by the Municipality of Lima and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, the Lima network was born.
Mayor Jorge Muñoz and his City Council had already developed the Project in the municipality of Miraflores for two consecutive terms (8 years).
The successful management of Miraflores led Mayor Muñoz to run in the municipal elections for Lima and the project “The city of children” was in the portfolio of projects for the city. T
he network is currently coordinated by Professor Carmen Rosa Coloma, of the Department of Education of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and contact person for the Project in Lima.
Portugal joins the Project after the presentation of the Portuguese version of the book “The City of Children”
The first city to join was Valongo followed by Torres Vedras.
Both cities have a working and exchange group with the Brazilian network and also participate in the meetings of the Spanish network.
The Swiss municipality of Mendrisio in the Canton of Ticino joined the international project in 2021 and is part of the Italian network.
France, through the accession of the city of Montpellier, is a recent but interesting and enthusiastic scenario in developing the Project. Francesco Tonucci has participated in meetings organized by cities such as Lyon and Strasbourg and there have been information meetings with the cities of Marseille and Nantes
The reference of the Association for France is the architect Vittorio Leone