Tag Archives: car dependence

The sorry state of neighbourhood design in America: a mother writes

After my last blog post about German children having more everyday freedom than their English peers, Andrea – a German-born woman who now lives in the USA – got in touch to leave a comment. She had some revealing things to say about the differences between her home and adopted countries, and has agreed to let me share them more prominently. She paints a depressing picture of car-dependence and isolation: a stark comparison with her experiences in Germany. Here is her story.

Road near Bailey School, Minnesota.

Woodbury, MN. Source: Strongtowns.org

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German children enjoy far more everyday freedom than their English peers

New research from the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) shows that only a quarter of English primary school children are allowed to walk to school alone – yet in Germany, three quarters are. It is easy to think that the decline in children’s freedom to play out of doors and get around on their own is an inevitable side effect of modern life. That is why international comparisons are so valuable: they can show us how things might be different.

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Last child in the street?

How can we build the movement to make neighbourhoods, towns and cities more child-friendly? I hereby propose that we steal a page from the playbook of Richard Louv. Continue reading

Is street play coming back into fashion?

PLAYINGOUT LOGO colour

Last week I was tipped off about an intriguing job opportunity: a street play research officer. Which global city, you may wonder, is showing such a strong interest in this topic? Mumbai, perhaps? Nope. Rio de Janeiro? Wrong again. The answer is New York City. It’s just one sign that street play, often consigned to the black-and-white memories of baby-boomers, is enjoying something of a renaissance.

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World through a windscreen?

Today is Playday, the annual play celebration. I am going to take a step back from the festivals, the Council fun days and the PR campaigning, important though they are. Instead, I want to explore one of the reasons why so many children are losing out on the opportunity to play outside in the first place: the car.

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