Tag Archives: streets

Seattle blazes a hopscotch trail

Call it fate, call it something in the ether, or call it a sign of changing times, but word has reached me of a hopscotch game that will put ten-year-old Lilly Allen’s efforts to shame (not that we’re being competitive). Residents of Seattle are organising a hopscotch trail that is set to go for nearly 2 miles across the Central District – and it’s happening in a couple of weeks!

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Hopscotch ban is not all bad news

Screengrab Sun hopscotch storyIn case you missed it, last week’s everyday childhood news flurry featured a ten-year-old girl, a street hopscotch game and an over-zealous police officer. Having threatened the child with criminal damage, the officer found himself the target of screenfuls of righteous media anger, led by the Sun newspaper. It is easy to slip into “ain’t it awful” mode with stories like this. But while I am not about to defend the police’s actions, I do want to offer a more positive twist on the tale.

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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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A seasonal vision of child-friendliness

Four children playing in a snowy street“When it snows, children take over the city: they sleigh, throw snowballs, make snowmen and are more visible than ever. But what a city needs for its children has to be more durable than snow.”

A seasonal reminder of what child-friendliness means from Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck, whose work in postwar Amsterdam has for some years been a source of inspiration for me. Quoted in a piece by Alex Gillian of Public Workshop.

Happy holidays, everyone!

A child is taught to ride a bike – and see how many people are helping him

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.)

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