On my visit to Moscow last week, I witnessed an intriguing sight as I was crossing a bridge near the city centre. A little girl and her mother were walking towards me. As they went past, the girl stooped down to make a snowball, and then she threw it playfully towards her mother. Not very noteworthy, you may think – except that it was minus 6 degrees Centigrade, with a biting wind and eight lanes of Moscow traffic roaring by just metres away from us. You could not have asked for a clearer example of children’s appetite for play, regardless of their circumstances. So how well does Russia’s capital satisfy that appetite – how child-friendly is it?
Posted in Mobility, Outdoor play, Public policy, Urban planning, Urbanism
Tagged child-friendly cities, mobility, Moscow, planning policy, play, public-space, Russia, urban design, urbanism
Image by Edwin Gardner, from Partizan Publik
In a couple of weeks I will be speaking at the Moscow Urban Forum, and I am asking for your help in making the most of this exciting opportunity. I want to find out more about everyday life for Moscow’s children. Can you help me discover what it is like to grow up in the neighbourhoods that the majority of Muscovite families live in?
Posted in Mobility, Outdoor play, Public space, Urban planning, Urbanism
Tagged child-friendly cities, mobility, Moscow, planning policy, play, public space, Russia, urban design, urbanism
Here’s a video of a young boy being taught to ride a bike. (It’s in Dutch – but you really don’t need to know the language.)
Posted in Learning, Mobility, Parenting, Public space, Risk
Tagged children's independent mobility, cycling, freedom, mobility, Netherlands, parent, Risk, streets, urban design, video
I have written quite a lot about the decline in children’s freedom to play and get around out of doors. The topic is often the subject of media debate. In an effort to raise the quality of this debate, I offer two charts with contrasting explanations for this change. Continue reading
Yesterday’s launch of the Good Childhood report from the Children’s Society has prompted more soul-searching about childhood. Coverage has focused on the report’s finding that half a million of the country’s children aged 8 to 16 – nearly 10 per cent – had a low sense of well-being. This is indeed a troubling finding – even if some of those children will become happier over time. Yet this media focus, while understandable, misses out a far more important message: the crucial value of a taste of freedom and autonomy. Continue reading
Posted in Mobility, Outdoor play, Public policy
Tagged childhood, children's independent mobility, children's society, free range kids, freedom, mobility, policy, public policy, well-being