Child-Friendly Cities: What My Toddler Taught Me about City Design

In a post from the new Plan.Place blog, the author explores the city with a two-year-old as his guide and offers reflections on viewing the urban landscape anew--from an elevation of 34 inches and with a renewed sense of wonder.

1 minute read

February 5, 2015, 6:00 AM PST

By Plan.Place


Children Playing

Lessadar / Shutterstock

Exploring his urban neighborhood with his two-year-old daughter, the author finds himself "viewing the urban landscape anew through her eyes—specifically, from an elevation of 34 inches and with a renewed sense of wonder. The transition to parenthood over the past couple of years has not only transformed the routines and rhythms of daily life, but has forced me to reassess and revise many longstanding priorities, assumptions and presumed understandings. Not exempt from this changing worldview has been the perspective from which I approach my work as an urban planner and how I think about cities and urban neighborhoods in general."

"As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about children: their place in cities and how to design neighborhoods for them. I’ve learned to look at familiar places and spaces in new ways. And witnessing my daughter’s cognitive and physical development progress on each walk and visit to the park, I’ve also, unexpectedly, found myself drawn to research related to the built environment from disciplines I might never have touched a few years ago—environmental psychology, neuroscience, education and child development, behavioral economics, and (yikes!) parenting blogs."

The author provides "field observations" from walks with his daughter, reassessing established assumptions from his practice as an urban planner, with the help of "a 34-inch sub-consultant." 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in Plan.Place

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