A child-friendly city
A modern, cosmopolitan city, Barcelona is also the perfect destination for children (we should remember that the under-12s account for 12% of the total population in the Catalan capital). The list of cultural and leisure activities aimed at young people is extraordinary and practically endless. That is why, in 2007, UNICEF recognised Barcelona as a Child-Friendly City, thanks to its countless initiatives aimed at including children and treating them as what they are: citizens with the right to enjoy their city and to make their voices heard.
In Barcelona, families never have time to get bored: there are museums especially designed for children, and cultural centres that organise workshops to stimulate their curiosity and knowledge, as well as plays and musicals, children’s bookshops and an impressive network of public libraries that encourage reading through workshops and storytelling sessions. Other attractions include open-air places where children can run and play, hundreds of clubs where federated athletes can play official sports, a hundred-year-old funfair and even many child-friendly restaurants with menus designed to delight palates of all ages.
And then there are the many popular festivities and major festivals aimed exclusively at young audiences. For example, every year, the Children’s Festival turns the Fira de Barcelona trade fair site into a vast area devoted to younger visitors, whilst the Món Llibre Festival, which takes place at the Barcelona Centre for Contemporary Culture (CCCB), brings Sant Jordi (St George’s Day, World Book Day) to younger audiences with activities that focus on reading, all especially designed for children. Finally, children take over the city and even read the official opening speech at Les Festes de Santa Eulàlia winter celebrations.
All this amply demonstrates that the construction of Barcelona also takes into account children and families, their opinions, needs, priorities and rights. In fact, every year, through the city’s schools, Barcelona City Council organises a public audience aimed at local children. Moreover, the city’s Natural Science Museum has established a Children’s Council formed by 16 young people which acts as an advisory body concerning how the museum is managed, as well as its content and activities.