According to recent comparative research data, children in Italy are about three to four years behind the firstranked countries on their independent mobility (Shaw et al., 2015): only the 7% of the children aged 7-11 are autonomous (Renzi, Prisco, Tonucci, 2014) and the 28% (aged 8-11) are active (CCM-ISS, 2017) on the route to school. These data provide a clear picture of how, and how much, these factors influence the low rate of moderate and moderate to vigorous physical activity among the Italian 11 years old children (WHO-Europe, 2016) and aerobic physical activity among adolescents (Eurostat, 2017): a wake-up call for the structuring of non-virtuous sedentary behaviors. The paper aims to refocus the attention of the interdisciplinary debate on the active role of children within the public urban realm and the potential influences that the city, its structure, regulations and spaces has on children intended as a vulnerable population group. In order to do so, some reflections on the relationship between “the child and the city” are presented, also supported by original research-intervention on a walk-to-school programme (Arduini, 2018; Borgogni, Arduini, Digennaro, 2018; Dorato, Borgogni, 2020) investigating children's active and independent mobility within the urban context; the latter represents an opportunity to develop new, more sustainable, livable and healthy urban environments for all. In conclusion, a discussion on the pivotal role of educational intentionality in planning public spaces is developed presenting some legislative possibilities arising from the current pandemic situation that has highlighted, even more, the urgent need for reflection on outdoor education.
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