Giving kids some freedom

child in bike trailerMy last post was about how cycling can benefit older folks.  This one is dedicated to my nephew who is 3.   We need spaces and facilities that allow children to move around and play safely.  This great blog post on a blog dedicated to kids rather than to cycling says a lot.  The focus here is on two things:

1. having local public spaces that are occupied by people rather than by cars, and

2. safety.  And the focus here is on safe from motorised vehicles in which people are moving too quickly to notice the meanderings of a child on foot or on a bicycle.  The focus IS on allowing kids to build physical competence by allowing them to fall off and make mistakes.

The other thing this blog alludes to is the development of community.  When people populate their shared spaces as people rather than as metal boxes on wheels, they actually get to know each other.  Facilities that accommodate everyone from the age of 3 to the age of 93 (or more!) also are good places for community, and for people who we don’t single out as being in need of attention.  They also mean that everyone can participate in the life of the community.  Many parts of Christchurch as it was pre earthquake were not that great for the very old and the very young or the disabled.  Wouldn’t it be great if our City was built to include all those people and to allow them to all the freedom to move around without a lot of noise, without having to constantly battle motorised traffic, or ‘run the gauntlet’ to cross the road.

Yes we need to accommodate the use of cars, but we need to get our priorities right – communities and people should have priority over cars where space is shared.

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