Testing Density with Trick or Treaters

Planner and urbanist Brent Toderian explains why Halloween is his favorite holiday.

Is your neighborhood full of trick or treaters on Halloween? Can kids easily find your front door? Can they safely dart across the street in their quest for candy? Former Vancouver Chief Planner, Brent Toderian, writes that trick or treating is a good test as any of a neighborhood's overall livability.

Contemporary modifications to the classic holiday, depressing ones by Toderian's standards, such as mall trick-or-treating and "trunk" or treating (basically Halloween tailgating) have been waning as denser, walkable urban neighborhoods attract young families.

Toderian writes:

"Great neighbourhoods for trick-or-treating also tend to be great neighborhoods for families everyday:

  • Tree-lined streets designed for walkers more than speeding cars.
  • Enough density and community completeness, to activate what I call 'the power of nearness' - everything you need, nearby.
  • Good visual surveillance through doors and stoops, windows (and I don't mean windows in garages), porches and 'eyes on the street.'
  • Connected, legible streets that let you 'read' the neighbourhood easily -grids tend to be good for this, but other patterns work too.

All of these are great for trick-or-treating, and equally great for walkable, healthy, economically resilient communities year-round."

Thanks to Jessica Brent

Full Story: Does You Neighbourhood Pass the 'Trick-or-Treat' Test?

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