This is a small revolution that started with making your street a place to play.
With 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, say UN, it’s crucial for the future of children that we make our cities more kid-friendly for the well-being of children, youth, and even the older generations.
Designing a child-friendly city goes beyond access to parks and playgrounds. It requires to rethink our streets to allow children and youth to walk or bike to school by themselves, and to enable them to visit friends who live a few blocks away without an adult supervision. It impacts how they can move, live and play in the cities.
Prioritising children’s perspectives is about looking at what affects young people most and using this as a framework to inform all aspects of planning, designing or managing cities because it benefits all of us.
Cities Alive: Designing for urban childhoods by Arup
How can we provide kids more freedom of movements is a big question. The good news is that more and more parents, activists, non-profit organizations and city planners work together to implement street play policy that makes playing out simple. They put in place traffic calming tactics. They work on making the streets more walkable and cyclable. They create an environment suitable for unstructured play and free activities.
+ photo credits: Playing Out
The story of Playing Out in Bristol, UK demonstrates again how small actions by two moms can evolve into a nation movement. I know of two street play programs in Canada. The phase 1 of Toronto‘s pilot program is completed. The city of Toronto accepts applications for summer events and fall events. Residents of Toronto must apply before July 1st to begin StreetPLAY on September 1st. In Quebec, Dans ma rue, on joue ! became a permanent program in Beloeil in 2018. Bravo Beloeil! Earth Day offered more links and advice for StreetPLAY.
Not just in the cities
We moved to the suburbs to offer an environment where our son will be able to play outside. My husband and I often talked about how lucky we are that we live on a street where kids play outside together. But as my son gets older, I think that he’ll need more than that. I received a bike for my birthday to cut on the amount I spent driving. So far, it hasn’t work as planned because many boulevards and avenues aren’t made for cyclists. We have a long way to make our streets and neighbourhoods more child-friendly, even in the suburbs. This is why I wrote this post.
By working together, we can build child-friendly cities for this generation and future generations.
+ photo credits: beejees on Pixabay