Designing Child-Friendly Cities: More Trouble than it's Worth?

With the Millennial boom in many urban centers, many cities are looking for ways to retain young families rather than losing them to the traditional suburban exodus. One columnist dares to ask: Do cities even need kids?

If you've ever wanted to read sentences like "Children: Are they necessary?" in a non-Onion, national media platform, now's your chance. A new article, written by Lydia DePillis for The Washington Post, asks if designing and building child-friendly cities is more trouble than it's worth.

DePillis cites a 2001 study that quantified the burden of children compared to benefit of the singles: "Back in 2001, two scholars at the Brookings Institution put a price tag on that dichotomy. A two-parent family with two kids costs $6,200 annually, and a childless couple generates a net gain for the city of $13,000."

Then there are the negative consequences on inequality once wealthy families decide to stay in the city: "Professional families will only move to a neighborhood if they’re assured a spot in a quality school — but that locks out those who can no longer afford it." Successful schools, it seems, are a harbinger for gentrification.

The column includes more details on the arguments for why children can be so troubling to a city's bottom lines, and a policy recommendation from DePillis.

Full Story: It’s hard to build cities for kids. But do they really need them?


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