• Proximity of Care Design Guide

Criança Fala

(Child Speaks)

Images by Juliana Rosa

Established by the Bernard van Leer Foundation, The Criança Fala program responds to the high levels of deprivation in the peripheral areas of São Paulo.

An estimated 60,000 children live in sub-standard housing and around 3 in 10 of these children do not attend school. As a result, many children spend a lot of their time indoors, away from the hostile streets. Criança Fala listens and responds to the concerns of children regarding public space, aiming to improve their skills and autonomy, and make public space less dangerous for the community. The project seeks to explore how urban space can aid children in difficult domestic situations. Creating public space that is used by families and playing children deters littering, gang violence and crime, simultaneously increasing security and empowering children to interact safely and to feel ownership within their community.


Location São Paulo, Brazil

Organisation Bernard van Leer Foundation

Date 2015

Scale of catchment Household, Neighbourhood

Built environment component Housing, Public space

Beneficiary Children all ages, Caregivers INTERVENTION DESIGN LEARNINGS


The program considers obtaining government permission to create outdoor play areas for children – such as hopscotch grids and football pitches.


Home visits to families, bringing children toys and books, and speaking to them about their experiences with the city outdoors, obtaining insights on how to improve public space. The program also leads craft workshops and cultural activities in public spaces.


Implementation learnings

Achieving these transformations requires the involvement of stakeholders from the community and private and public sectors

Replicable in other deprived areas in order to help repair and improve urban identity.



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