Child-Friendly Communities

There was a time when kids had free range – shimmying up trees, biking around their neighborhood, and participating in community life. Today, however, due in part to modern zoning practices, planning for the car, and uncontrolled growth, children are growing up unhealthy, obese, socially unskilled and depressed in sprawling subdivisions. If left unchecked, we will damage the health of another generation of children.

The IMCL team offers an innovative approach to evaluate the impact of the built environment on the social and physical health of children and youth in your city or neighborhood, and to identify – with involvement of the community - the most effective ways to improve health and well-being through strategic interventions in the built environment. In this way, health will be improved not only for the present generation, but for generations to come.

We believe that the environment in which children grow up should promote their positive health and well-being, and contribute to their optimal development as full human beings.

We use a multi-disciplinary approach, involving planning, urban design, landscape architecture, transportation planning, public health and social sciences, to identify where the major problems lie in your community, and to generate solutions.

By considering important health, social, and built environment issues, we provide guidelines for reshaping urban environments to optimize children’s health and improve their lives:

  1. To provide children FREE RANGE in their neighborhood and city, as appropriate to their age;
  2. To make certain that there are abundant places where children can INTERACT WITH NATURE in a variety of ways;
  3. Similarly, to make sure there are places where children can INTERACT WITH THE COMMUNITY in a variety of ways and learn essential social and conceptual skills; and
  4. To shape a BUILT ENVIRONMENT that stimulates children’s health and well-being,  mental and ethical development.

How may we  help you ?

Our services include:

  • Neighborhood/city appraisals;
  • Methods to increase mobility, autonomy and safety;
  • Perspicacity: making the built environment “legible” for children;
  • Enhancing children’s access to nature;
  • Enriching children’s experience of the natural world;
  • Expanding and encouraging children’s access to the community (the “public realm”);
  • Developing community social life and civic engagement for all age groups;
  • Creating a hospitable, user-friendly, built environment; and
  • Increasing community participation by everyone.

The IMCL team is flexible in determining with clients whether a broad set of recommendations is desirable, or whether a narrower, more detailed focus is required.

Depending on the time available and the range of recommendations desired, IMCL may apply a methodology using a combination of quantitative analysis, qualitative evaluation, and community participation. The team’s expertise is based on a combined 70 years of experience and research on how to create healthy environments for children, as well as a profound depth of knowledge of research and literature in these fields.

The IMCL team will work with clients to establish the appropriate breadth and depth of consultation desired. Consultation on this topic requires a minimum of a one-week site visit at the start of consultation. Guidelines and recommendations may involve from one to six month’s  consultation, and are presented in a report and, possible PPT presentation on site.

To find out how we can help you, please contact our IMCL Consultants team at