Getting Kids Off the Street- And Up In The Air

Want to get kids off the street? Build playgrounds on top of skyscrapers, like in this retro-future design from 1957's Mechanix Illustrated.
January 15, 2009, 6am PST | Tim Halbur
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"THE scene is your city on a sticky, sweltering twilight in midsummer. Lights are beginning to wink on and kids are starting to gather in the streets after the evening meal.

A few years ago this was the danger hour in your city. You remember it well-the nightly muggings would begin about now and young girls would be afraid to venture out alone. Beatings were commonplace and gang wars, fiercely fought with knives and zip-guns, were a frequent occurrence. But things are different now.

Look at the kids emerging from their homes. Instead of congregating at the candy store and pool parlor hatching * up new forms of violence out of boredom, they are now heading for the center of the block. They funnel into a large entrance and are swallowed up inside.

Follow them. They tile into elevators and are whisked upstairs. The doors open and they step into a fantasy land.

There, a few yards from the tenements where they live, on their very roofs, in fact, is a regulation-size baseball diamond with real springy turf! But the kids aren't interested just now-they played ball all afternoon. Instead, they enter the locker room and in a few minutes are cavorting noisily in a big, broad and very cool swimming pool. Afterwards, they troop onto the ball field, where chairs have been set up, and watch a movie under the stars.

What's it all about? 'This magic land for kids doesn't exist in my city,' you say. No, it doesn't-yet!"

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Published on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 in Modern Mechanix
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