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In reply to: Designing Better Urban Spaces for Kids - CityLab

This is pretty much my dream article.

In grad school, I read this article about why kids in Japan are so independent right after having finished reading Yi-Fu Tauns Topophilia, I started to wonder, what would a public transit system designed specifically for children look like?” Ever since then, I’ve been fascinated by the idea. Fascinated not only by the potential design challenges, but also because I really think if more aspects of public, private, and digital life were designed with children specifically in mind the world would be a better place.

What if, instead of devising ways to deter kids from using public space, cities were built to encourage it?


Not only [would] better design help these children thrive and become healthier, more successful adults, but planning for children, with their more limited range and unhurried pace, means simultaneously planning for other vulnerable groups, such as the disabled and the elderly. And the well-being of children can have a way of uniting policymakers who disagree on most everything else.

Not only that, but I think design with children in mind would help to break most folks’ inability to comprehend hyperobjects, and other diffuse disasters that we generally struggle to address with any urgency (I’m lookin’ at you climate change…and debt crisis…)

So what does designing a city around kids mean? The Arup report’s authors are clear that it’s not just about building more playgrounds, however important such spaces are and will continue to be. The report focuses on two main aspects of design: everyday freedoms and children’s infrastructure….Everyday freedoms refer to children’s ability to travel safely on foot or bike and without an adult in their neighborhood—to school, to a rec center, to a park….Children’s infrastructure means the network of spaces and streets that can make a city child-friendly and encourage these everyday freedoms.

So, maybe a weird question — but how does the indieweb address children? Does it? Should it?