According to Mark Funkhouser, former mayor of Kansas City, there may be no better measure of a city's livability than whether parents want to raise children there. He explains why everyone benefits when sidewalks are filled with baby strollers.
"A city that's a good place to raise children is generally just a good place, period," says Funkhouser. "Parents want to raise their children in places that are safe, clean and attractive, that enjoy a sense of charm and place, and that have lots of fun and interesting stuff going on. Who doesn't want that? It sounds like the very definition of livability."
He discusses the 'stroller index', a phrase coined by Governing colleague David Kidd that captures the idea that the health of a city is measured in the number of strollers on its streets.
"AARP has a list of principles for creating "age-friendly" communities. My guess is that cities that set out to accommodate the Baby Boomers by being age-friendly are going to do very well on the stroller index as well. When more people rate a city as a good place to raise children, that means a strengthening tax base and a better environment for everyone. Just don't trip as you step around the strollers to get into that cute little coffee shop."
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The focus on gentrifying communities has, in many cases, eclipsed the similar problems facing more stagnant neighborhoods.
Study: Market-Rate Development Filters Into Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing
New research sheds new light on one of the most hotly debated questions in planning and development.
The End of Single-Family Zoning in California
Despite a few high-profile failures, the California State Legislature has approved a steady drumbeat of pro-development reforms that loosen zoning restrictions. The state raised the stakes on its zoning reforms this week.
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