- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Carfree Communities Are Child's Play

Great stuff this - and how simple it is. It reminds me of the times when it snows in Tokyo, and the back streets become playgrounds. Kids come out of the woodwork and you wonder where they all were before the snow. Of course, before long the snow melts, the cars are back, and the kids are chased back to their computer games. But if we can only redesign communities to restrict automobile access within certain areas...

- Carfree Communities Are Child's Play
Traffic prevents children from playing. Between 1973 and 2006, the proportion
of children playing on UK streets fell from 75% to 15%. Two charities, Sustrans
and Play Wales, are calling on planning authorities to lead the UK to build
carfree housing estates, which gives a high quality of life for all its
residents, particularly for children in traffic-clogged urban areas allowing
them to play safely outside their front doors and travel independently. The
proposals would also help cut obesity in children who are unable to play in
traffic-clogged areas. The plan envisages that car parking in the new
developments would be limited and situated away from people’s homes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The same happened here in Britain last month when a few days of heavy snow descended on us and motor traffic was reduced to a human speed.

Legions of youthful adults and joy-loving kids discovered they were no longer scared of these neutered metal beasts and could be found giggling and throwing snowballs and generally playing in the street. Something many of them had never experienced before.

I overheard one driver inform a friend in a mystified tone, "People keep stepping out in front of my car. Why are they doing that?"

Because you're driving slowly. They're not scared of you today.