Op-Ed: Why Bad City Design is Failing Our Kids (And What to Do About It)
Take a second and think about where you live right now. Think about your street, your yard, your neighborhood, your city. Now, imagine you were a child.
Where would you play? Is there a park or are there woods within walking distance, or would you have to ask your busy parents to drive you there?
Think some more.
Would any of your friends be around to meet you, or would they also be far away, in their own houses, having to ask all their own parents to drive them too?
Let’s say you want to go get ice cream. You’ve got a little pocket change, an allowance. Can you walk, or ride your bike, to a store to pick up some sweets? Or is your home separated from the corner store by miles of serpentine suburban streets and high-speed roads?
Now you’re back as a parent. Would you feel comfortable letting your kid walk or bike to the store alone? Do you think it would be safe?
Many parents don’t, and wouldn’t.
Kids today aren’t lazy. They aren’t addicted to screens, at least not any more than adults. But the way we’ve built our modern environment restricts, with almost authoritarian precision, the ability of kids to do anything independently — including play outside.