Are Families Important in the 'New City'?

U.S. cities leave a lot to be desired for raising a family. However, is it really a worthwhile goal to make cities family friendly? Marin Gertler, a San Diego architect ponders the question after a recent visit to New York City.

1 minute read

June 13, 2016, 8:00 AM PDT

By wadams92101

Family Parking

Suriya Wattanalee / Shutterstock

On a recent trip with his family—kids included—San Diego Gensler architect Marin Gertler enjoyed the trip immensely. In reflecting on the trip however, he noticed few children, and few children's amenities. 

He pondered, if NYC, our most vibrant city and home of the "ballet of the sidewalk"—of which children were a significant factor—can't get it right, is there hope for other U.S. cities? Is it even a worthwhile goal to make cities family friendly? In NYC, he noticed, among other things: 

The sheer density was another expected challenge, but the physical distance between the various open spaces, parks and pedestrian plazas really was magnified as a family.  There is no “green necklace” to move from mid-town to downtown, the Highline does a good job for a short time on the west side but that’s about it.

In reflecting on San Diego, he writes: 

We hope that San Diego can learn from the mistake of others and borrow innovation from the best with the goal of being leaders in this aspect. San Diego city is young and there is still time to shape it, but we need to move fast.

For more of his observations regarding New York City, please read the main article. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in UrbDeZine

Large historic homes and white picket fences line a street.

The End of Single-Family Zoning in Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is the latest jurisdiction in the country to effectively end single-family zoning.

March 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Buses in downtown Seattle on the dedicated 3rd Avenue bus lanes

Seattle Bus Lane Cameras Capture Over 100,000 Violations

An automated traffic enforcement pilot program caught drivers illegally using transit lanes more than 110,000 times in less than a year.

March 28, 2023 - Axios

Amtrak Acela Express train passing through Harrison station in Newark, New Jersey

‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford to Oversee Amtrak’s High-Speed Rail Efforts

Byford, who formerly ran NYC Transit and Transport for London, could bring renewed vigor to the agency’s plans to expand regional rail in the United States.

March 28, 2023 - StreetsBlog NYC

A row of Victorian homes in San Francisco, California

San Francisco Rents Cheaper Now Than in 2020

Though ‘cheap’ is a relative term.

March 30 - San Francisco Examiner

25 mph speed limit sign partially obscured by red and orange fall leaves

Study: Seattle’s Lower Speed Limits Reduced Crash Injuries

A change in the city’s speed limits has been shown to reduce the likelihood of injuries during collisions.

March 30 - Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Couple embracing happily in front of home with "SOLD" sign

Millennials Now Majority Homeowners

Just over half of people in the ‘Y’ generation now own homes, but the largest generation also continues to dominate the rental market.

March 30 - RentCafé

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.