Share your favourite public places for babies and toddlers

Published August 12, 2021

The Celebrate Public Life campaign is an open call for urban residents around the world to tell stories about public spaces they love and depend on.

Inclusive public spaces in which babies, toddlers and caregivers can explore, play and form connections are an essential part of healthy urban environments and healthy child development. These public spaces are what builds heathy, engaging and joyful public life in cities – and we need to discover, share, advocate for and celebrate them.

Zumrutevler Square in Istanbul. A project with NACTO-GDCI, Superpool and the Municipality.

Everyone has a story to tell about their neighbourhoods and the public spaces they spend time in.

Yet, these stories are rarely heard by the policymakers, politicians, or organizations that shape our cities. The Bernard van Leer Foundation has teamed up with Gehl to develop a crowdsourcing platform and campaign for citizens from around the world to share and discover great places. And help to increase the right kind of data to create more places that enable community health, safety, happiness, and connection.

With every contribution, we will:

  • Encourage people to think about social connections, inclusivity, wellbeing, and health in their cities
  • Increase our collective awareness about the importance of public space
  • Collect data on where people gather, why and what makes these places special.

The collected crowdsourced data including pinned locations, photos of public life and nominated public life champions will be open-source and help to:

  • Share and enjoy the best and most popular public spaces in cities
  • Differentiate how public spaces are used by different people and for different purposes
  • Identify where there is a public life deficit in neighbourhoods
  • Demonstrate to city decision makers why public life is important and showcase how to make it better for all.

The campaign has wide support from like-minded organisations who are also engaged in making urban public spaces better. See here for the full list.

The data collected from the Celebrate Public Life Campaign will also support and be integrated into the Foundation’s Urban95 initiative which works with city leaders, planners, architects and engineers to support the healthy development of young children growing up in cities. The visible presence of babies and toddlers in public spaces can be a fantastic indicator of how healthy, accessible, safe and vibrant public spaces are. By making sure public spaces work for young children, we can make public spaces that works for everyone.

How you can support the campaign

Engage directly on the campaign platform by sharing your public life stories and follow the campaign’s activities on Instagram, and Twitter, connect by using #celebratepubliclife.