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Graz: child and family-friendly city

Graz is a “family-friendly municipality” and has been since 2012. This year, an extensive re-audit process took place to ensure this “family seal of approval” for the next three years as well. For the certificate according to the guidelines of the Federal Ministry for Women, Families and Youth, a multi-stage process – involving the population in the four social areas – had to be carried out. For the first time, the UNICEF certification as a “child-friendly municipality” was also processed. This additional certificate was awarded to the city of Graz by the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF Austria. This means the city works every day to improve the quality of life for children and families, through several actions to support families: welcome packs for newborns, parental counselling, family passes, children’s museums, higher number of crèches and kindergartens, a children’s parliament, and various youth participation models.

Several fields were defined for future work include:

1.Promoting safety for children in public spaces

Walking to school independently and safely, promoting physical activity, increasing safety in public spaces for children and following the climate-friendly needs of younger road users, developing a package of measures, e.g. marking a particularly safe way to school as a footpath in each district (district pilot projects and best practice), safe way to school folder, campaigns in parents’ associations with role models to involve parents (e.g. School Walk Friday), safe cycling for all children and young people.

2. Expand child participation processes for the design of public space: Make children and young people and their needs visible

Develop different focus groups and in particular the needs of children and young people in the design of a child- and family-friendly city of Graz, e.g.: make the results of the projects of the children’s mayors and surveys/participation projects of children more visible, especially include the needs of girls in public space (marked areas in parks, communication space, lighting conditions, etc.), seating areas, seating arrangements, etc.). ), seating areas, co-designing areas with child-friendly focused green public spaces.

3. Develop an “outdoor living” strategy

Use common public spaces for children and young people in a family-friendly and exercise-friendly way, develop Graz playground ordinance, playground renovation strategy, fix repair budgets for child-friendly infrastructure and green space/playgrounds, develop near-natural play areas, as well as temporary use of open spaces and update study, creative park design for different user groups, ensure basic sanitation.

4. Promote gatherings and use of communal spaces.

Further development of self-organised, neighbour-friendly environments (consumption-free meeting places) and prevents conflicts: e.g. helpline: telephone advice for citizens looking for consumption-free meeting spaces, implementation of the Dietrichskeusche project, children’s, youth’s and street festivals guidebook and citizens’ package.

5. Intergenerational projects – improving coexistence

In a rapidly growing family-friendly city, emphasis should be placed on cross-generational projects to improve understanding of different needs and interests. e.g. development of rules for the joint use of play areas by older people and children, young people, understanding as part of a campaign for background noise, promote joint intergenerational projects in housing estates to prevent loneliness, promote understanding and cohesion in migrant areas.

6. Fifteen more good years of life

According to a Swedish model, timely prevention and nutrition, as well as exercise, should enable senior citizens to live 15 more years without disability and illness, more worth living and more independently. Coaches accompany people in this process (post-elderly phase and senior citizens). Conception of an education and training project for people over 50 plus, pilot projects, evaluation report

7. “Participating in life”-quality of life package of measures

Measures to make it easier for children, young people and people with disabilities to participate in public life, e.g. making it possible to see/read timetables at all stops with led lamps at dusk, lowering timetable boards for children and wheelchair users, extending/easing and marking street crossing and green phases for people with walking disabilities, regulating access to public WC facilities in green areas, parks and squares as a regulation.

See more information https://www.graz.at/cms/beitrag/10359653/8109641/

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