United States of America


Imagine Chicago

Imagine Chicago is a non-profit organization, created in 1992, and dedicated to cultivating hope and civic commitment. It enlists young people, and others who want to make a difference, to bring to light the experience, hopes, and aspirations of Chicago’s citizens and to act on that imagination in ways that benefit individuals, communities, and the city as a whole. This work is done in partnership with local organizations– schools, churches, community groups, cultural institutions– and serves as the catalyst to encourage people to think about themselves as creators of the city’s future, and to form communities in which that future can be created and the ownership of that future shared. Imagine Chicago is designed as a partnership between community builders, educators, and the city’s young people. Visions, values and accountability are shared; collaborative, creative leadership is encouraged. There is little likely to be more motivating to the city’s youth than their confidence in a viable future, based on their own direct experience of having a role to play in shaping the city’s future as a positive one for themselves and others.

Bliss W. Browne
Imagine Chicago
910 W. Castlewood Terrace
Chicago, IL 60640
Telephone (+1) 773-275-2520
E-mail: bliss@imaginechicago.org


Boston Schoolyard Initiative

Educational opportunities are incorporated within the Boston Schoolyard Initiative to encourage and support, at every stage, schoolyards are used as a vehicle for learning. Educational programming targets public school students as well as neighbourhood youth and community residents. Multi-disciplinary academic approaches, creative play, and community service learning opportunities can be explored; educational collaborations can be formed and professional development for educators can be highlighted. Planned or active educational uses of the schoolyard will be considered when granting funds to schoolyard groups. The school receives an Organizing & Planning Grant from the Boston Schoolyard Funders Collaborative. This award puts the school into a “pipeline” that will eventually lead to the construction of capital improvements. A community organizer is then hired to coordinate the project. The Boston Schoolyard Initiative is currently working with 64 public schools (out of 130) and in each of Boston’s many diverse neighbourhoods. Grade levels include pre-K through high school. Forty-one projects have completed construction and twenty-three projects are in their pre-construction phases. Partner organisations: Children’s Museum, Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University, Massachusetts Audubon Society, Dunn Foundation, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Earthworks, City Year/Boston, Boston Society of Architects’ Learning By Design Group, Massachusetts Department of Environmental, Management, Boston Urban Gardeners, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Boston Recycling Office, Impact II, Annenberg Math & Science Project.

Kirk Meyer
Boston Schoolyard Funders Collaborative c/o The Boston Foundation
75 Arlington Street, 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02116-3936
Telephone (+1) 617 3383117
Fax (+1) 617 3381608
E-mail: kdm@tbf.org


Denver’s Child & Youth Friendly City Initiative (CYFC)

On June 13, 2006 representatives from the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children, Assets for Colorado Youth (ACY) and the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design at the University of Colorado Denver (CYE) launched the Denver Child & Youth Friendly City Initiative (CYFC). The organizational structure of the initiative includes representatives from the three previous organizations, as well as other organizations in Denver; it also comprises a Youth Steering Committee which enables real youth participation in the initiative. The Denver’s CYCF aims to: 1) ensure children and youth have a voice and are decision makers in their communities and in the city as a whole; 2) strengthen people and places that make children and youth are recognized and valued in Denver; 3) ensure that Denver supports the healthy development of children and youth. Since the launch of the strategy, concrete actions have been planned and carried out. For example, the implementation of the Learning Landscape Program (led by the University of Colorado Denver), which aimed to improve existing neglected elementary school yards of the city by transforming them into community areas for children and their families. An important initiative is also the improvement of overall neighborhood safety; the programme, called Denver Safe Routes to School (SRTS), has started with a consultative process carried out by the CYE with children, parents, law enforcement personnel, city planners, parks managers, school administrators and other interlocutors interviewed on dangerous routes to schools in Denver neighborhoods. On March 27, 2007, Denver City Council established the “Denver Safe Routes to School Coalition” with the objective  of developing a Denver Safe Routes to School Action Plan. As part of this initiative, more than 20 schools have or will benefit from infrastructure improvements and/or additional educational activities.

For more information: http://www.cudenver.edu/Academics/Colleges/ArchitecturePlanning/discover/centers/CYE/Projects/ChildFriendlyCities/ChildYouthFriendlyDenver/Pages/ChildYouthFriendlyDenver.aspx




Child-Friendly Cities Initiative – US Fund for UNICEF

In 2008, US Fund for UNICEF (USF) signed an agreement with the Children’s Environments Research Group (CERG) – City University of New York (CUNY) to pilot the Child Friendly City (CFC) model in New York City, with the objective of going to scale in the country in the future. In collaboration with the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design (CYE) of the University of Colorado Denver and the College of Design at North Carolina State University, has prepared a concept paper and are adapting a Framework for Action for child friendly communities and cities to US context. Preliminary actions to this project are: to research national initiatives that promote CFC approach; to research specific actions taken by communities/cities in North Carolina, New York, Denver and other states; assess existing CFCI Framework for Action. A pilot project based on a participatory approach, has been launched in Central Harlem, New York, with the aim to assess the feasibility of CFCI in the US. The project focuses on four thematic areas: safety; youth participation; access to culture and play; international solidarity. A steering committee, made up of several organizations from the neighborhood, and 220 young people from the community are participating in the construction of a model of CFCI initiative that can be replicated in other communities within New York City and other cities in the US.


Elizabeth S. Merola (Deputy Director, Office of the Chief of Program, UNICEF USA)

Telephone: 212-922-2649

Fax: 212-867-5991

E-mail: emerola@unicefusa.org