Is Downtown Any Place to Raise a Family?

Certainly, says Brent Toderian. And with children "the indicator species of a great neighbourhood," he argues that cities should be designed with families in mind.

Toderian considers recent news items and comments by colleagues questioning the suitability of downtowns as places for families, and says the reason such beliefs persist is that cities aren't designed with families in mind. "A city and building industry gives up on kids downtown, so no one designs and plans for them. No schools. Little daycare. No playgrounds, facilities or basic public environment to make downtown kid or teenager-friendly. Most importantly, no homes built to actually fit a family...This perpetuates the myth that families would never want to live downtown."

Toderian, former Chief Planner for Vancouver, argues that families are essential to cities as "a big part of complete, mixed, vibrant and lively downtown neighbourhood. Singles, couples and seniors downtown are great, but kids and baby-strollers make communities more real, more human. They also support a broader local economy, and make the community safer."

He goes on to describe the essential elements, including childcare, schools, and family-friendly housing, that are necessary for building downtowns for families. After all, says Toderian, "a neighbourhood that's designed to work for kids, works for everyone."

Full Story: Want Families Downtown? Design for Them!

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