Early Years

Early Years
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1 billion children are currently growing up in cities, of which about 380 million are under 5 years old. Around 1 million neural connections are formed every second in a young child’s brain. This means that every second, roughly 380 trillion of new neural connections happen in the brains of babies and toddlers across cities around the world.

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New neural connections in babies' brains are shaped by the quantity, frequency, and duration of warm, stimulating, and responsive interactions with their caregivers – most often parents. The quality of urban spaces influences babies and toddlers directly by shaping their spatial experiences, and indirectly by modulating the quantity, frequency, and duration of child-caregiver interactions in cities.

Urban planners, designers, managers, decision-makers, and all those involved in the maintenance, upkeep, and usage of urban environments are brain builders too and can support caregivers in giving urban babies and toddlers the best chances in life. A baby or toddler’s relationships with the adults in their life are the most important influences on their development. These relationships begin at home, with parents and other family members, and then extend outside the home onto the street, the neighbourhood, and the wider city.

To design better cities for babies, toddlers and caregivers, we need to understand their urban experiences:

More │ Fellows

New neural connections in babies' brains are shaped by the quantity, frequency, and duration of warm, stimulating, and responsive interactions with their caregivers – most often parents. The quality of urban spaces influences babies and toddlers directly by shaping their spatial experiences, and indirectly by modulating the quantity, frequency, and duration of child-caregiver interactions in cities.

Urban planners, designers, managers, decision-makers, and all those involved in the maintenance, upkeep, and usage of urban environments are brain builders too and can support caregivers in giving urban babies and toddlers the best chances in life. A baby or toddler’s relationships with the adults in their life are the most important influences on their development. These relationships begin at home, with parents and other family members, and then extend outside the home onto the street, the neighbourhood, and the wider city.

To design better cities for babies, toddlers and caregivers, we need to understand their urban experiences:

Grace Whited
Julien Vincelot

Fellows

Julien Vincelot

Shaun Andrews

How will human-centric design and neuroscience transform the field of urban planning?