We all want our cities and towns to be healthy, sustainable, safe and successful. To achieve all these things, they must also be child-friendly.
Cities are not also known as being the healthiest of environments and children are particularly affected by the negatives of modern urban living. From safety on the roads to air pollution, and a lack of play space and obesity. Did you know that air pollution can damage the development of children’s’ lungs and increase the risk of asthma? And with the congestion on our road networks, letting our children out to play isn’t as comfortable with parents as it once was.
Independent mobility is crucial for a child’s social development, as is play and yet only one fifth of children aged between 5 and 15 are getting the recommended amount of physical activity.
The positive thing is that future city planning can tackle these issues. Those who design urban spaces can and should put the needs of children at the centre of their thinking. One positive step that is already happening is the increase in traffic calming measures and pedestrianisation, creating safe places for walking, socialising and play.
A staggering 60% of the world’s population living in urban areas will be under 16 years old by 2030. There is, therefore, a major need for cities to become safer, healthier and friendlier places for people of all ages but especially children. Public spaces must install more play equipment, making them attractive for families to want to spend time in. For Childrens wooden climbing frames, visit https://www.kidsclimbingframe.co.uk/
A default speed limit of 20mph could be set on the streets where people live, play and work in an effort to put people first in urban planning. This is already happening in some UK cities as part of the Walking Cities campaign.
How wonderful would it be to have ‘play streets’? These are areas of permanent or temporary closure to traffic to encourage communities to get out, for children to play and develop their independent mobility in a safe environment. Such measures could make a big impact in areas around schools, for example.
There are many ideas for making cities safer and healthier for the younger generation. Walking routes to schools could be closed to traffic or have more crossings and bridges available to encourage people to walk more.
Attractive public spaces are also a priority. Places where families can meet, play and exercise. This could also provide greater footfall and revenue for local businesses. Air pollution could be helped by making it easier and more accessible for people to walk, cycle or make the most of public transport.