This is a guest post by Alex Bonham. Alex is doing a doctorate on play and the city at the University of Auckland and has a book on the subject coming out on the 13th of July. She is also Deputy Chair of the Waitematā Local Board.

Tim Gill is an independent scholar and advocate for children’s mobility. He is a Design Council Ambassador, former director of the Children’s Play Council (now Play England) and an advisor to local and central government in the UK. He writes an online blog called Rethinking Childhood, and recently released Urban Playground, a beautifully illustrated book that makes the case for child-friendly cities. This post will share some of his key insights.

Tim Gill’s Urban Playground. Source: RIBA
So, what is a child-friendly city and why do they matter? And how do you retrofit urban neighbourhoods to make them child-friendly?

A couple of generations ago it used to be common to see children in the city streets. But with the motorization of transport, they have been marginalized and pushed into separate spaces, usually playgrounds. There are lots of good playgrounds (and less good ones) around Auckland but in themselves a child-friendly city they do not make. Such a city can be identified by two factors:

  1. That there are lots of things to do and places to go, and
  2. That children are able to access them.

In such places children can find each other. When children can independently access a variety of spaces, including natural spaces, and quiet spaces where they can play with their friends, then they are in a child-friendly neighbourhood. It works a bit like this:

The child friendly matrix. Source: Alex Bonham

Child-friendly independence

To ensure children can have some independent mobility, the urban spaces they occupy need to be pedestrian-focused with low traffic levels at low speeds with safe crossings. The type of housing doesn’t matter so much as how it flows onto a calm, safe outdoor space. The iceblock test is a good indicator: could an eight-year-old go from their home to the dairy to buy an iceblock and get home before it melts? If so, then they are living in a child-friendly neighbourhood. For their parents this might also mean that the lovely café or bar with acoustic music is in walking distance too.

Good for kids

Firstly, children benefit. Independent mobility connects them to the neighbourhoods they live in and to other people. They have a better sense of place, orientation, motivation, and confidence. Access to natural spaces improves mental health, happiness and reduces aggression. They get the opportunity to learn to manage risk, whether it be climbing on walls, climbing frames, trees, or crossing the road safely. They develop an affiliation for their place: they appreciate the history and geography of their neighbourhood and feel at home. Access to other kids increases kids’ social skills and social capital. This is all critical for their development into healthy adults.

Being able to get around independently and safely has benefits for childrens’ development. Photo: Alex Bonham

Good for society

Secondly, such an upbringing will stand kids in good stead through their lives, with knock-on benefits for everyone else. Not only are they more likely to be well-adjusted but they are likely to do better at school and work. A study in America found that, putting to one side all the other contributing factors, growing up in a walkable neighbourhood improves kids’ prospects for getting better paying jobs. This is partly because of the practical ramifications of accessing opportunities without a car but also because people living in more walkable neighborhoods felt a greater sense of belonging to their communities. A walkable city encourages everyone to participate in it.

Walkable neighbourhoods are good for the local economy in other ways. (Disclosure: I care less about supporting the global economies of car manufacturing and petrol sales). Parents are freed up from being a chauffeur, the roads become less congested and because the local environment is congenial people spend their time and money there. Family friendly neighbourhoods are clean, safe and fun, which is good for business. There is a strong link between the presence of families and economic growth.  Child-friendly neighbourhoods also benefit from being home to a mixed demography of residents with a range of ages (including kids), cultures, and backgrounds.

A child-friendly city has spaces designed for people of all ages. Image: Sam Williams

Good for the environment

Thirdly, child-friendly neighbourhoods have trees, green spaces, and few cars so they tend to have more positive environmental impacts and lower emissions. Normalising walking, cycling, or taking public transport can set up positive lifelong low carbon habits. Giving kids early access to nature and the environment makes them care more about it.

Children working at a community garden. Photo: Stichting Havensteder / Martin Bouwman

Wellbeings for all

In short, a child-friendly city delivers the four wellbeings – social, cultural, environmental, and economic – that underpin both New Zealand’s Local Government Act and the RMA. It is clear that the four wellbeings, if taken seriously, flow together. The city of Freiburg in Germany is an example of such holistic outcomes. Its GDP per capita is 11% above the European average and their citizens enjoy a good quality of life and level of civic participation from a very young age.

Creating child-friendly neighbourhoods often requires a level of intervention from councils or governments. Gill gives some good examples of approaches taken from Europe and the Americas (it would be useful if his focus turned to Asia and Africa in a follow-up book or revised edition!) Some cities that are child-friendly were not motivated to become so by a desire to put kids first but because its people and officials were trying to protect qualities that they valued in their city.

In Freiburg, things that the voting, tax-paying public wanted are the same things that make Freiburg and its suburb Vauban some  of the most child-friendly centres in the world. The public cared about repairing the built heritage landscape after the destruction of World War II, preventing suburban shopping malls and nuclear power stations, keeping the trams, protecting the environment, and encouraging participation in public life. A world-leading child friendly city is the outcome.

A child-friendly street in Vauban. Source: Rethinking Childhood

Retrofitting to become child-friendly

We can find examples of cities all over the world that have retro-actively worked at integrating child-friendly thinking into their planning.  Antwerp has a strategy for developing child-oriented public realm masterplans for neighbourhoods. Places for kids are mapped against their accessibility. They engage with kids to find out what they need to fill the gaps. Rotterdam created more parklets, playspaces, and pedestrian-focused neighbourhoods. Rent controls meant that urban improvements did not lead to the displacement of the families they were hoping to help.

A play street in Rotterdam. Source: Rethinking Childhood

Vancouver and Ghent were similarly motivated, with a focus on sustainability and community as well. In Ghent there is a dedicated team of officers at council, led by a councillor, that oversees a child-friendly city strategy across departments. One scheme is the “red carpet” – a 2km child-friendly walking/ cycling route that links schools, kindergartens, playgrounds, parks, and several public spaces.

Oslo, Boulder and Barcelona, and the Brazilian cities of Recife and Fortaleza focused on children’s rights, health and well-being. In Oslo kids can download a “traffic agents” app and can report on their experiences negotiating the way to school, unsafe crossings, speeding traffic or obstructions, which the council can then address. In Brazil there is a focus on making road crossings safer for kids by using paintings, planters and other visual cues to encourage drivers to slow down.

A pocket park in Recife, Brazil. Source: Rethinking Childhood

Auckland’s mixed outcomes for children

Auckland is a C40 city and has high targets for emissions reductions. It is also a city with mixed childhood outcomes. Not all these issues can be laid at the door of urban planning decisions but some should be. The main failure is its autocentric focus, which not only creates emissions, but also denies children independent mobility and opportunities to connect with each other.

The council’s I Am Auckland project researched child and youth aspirations for the city in 2013. Two goals that we are consistently failing to meet is enabling kids to connect to each other and enabling them to have a voice. Discounts for public transport are helpful but rely on the existence of regular, reliable PT in safe walking distance from homes. There are models that judge economic benefits on shaving off time to vehicular journeys while ignoring the ones made by other modes. Are we currently targeting child mobility? No. Are we even considering it? No. This is a shame.

The Innovating Streets process has offered an opportunity to make streets safer and more vibrant. Perhaps though as a council, and as a country, we have not told the story well enough about why it is important. This is problematic. The quality of participation correlates with less resistance to change. People will make the effort to change their behaviour dramatically if they believe there is a good reason, but only then. Leadership from elected members is enormously helpful. Behind closed doors there is advocacy from all local boards in Auckland for better PT and active transport choices. We need to front up to communities, to talk about the trade-offs and opportunities and back the officers trying to make good things happen.

The Mayor should be doing this. So should Central Government. There is some excellent strategy coming from the Minister on walkable neighbourhoods. Innovating Streets is what change looks like. Perhaps one of the problems is that we are uncertain how to measure success in terms of the four wellbeings and so we are vulnerable to the loudest voices in the room: the frightened, and those with vested interests. Considering children’s wellbeing is not to put children above everybody else but to help make decisions that will deliver good outcomes for everyone on the things that matter: social, cultural, environmental (including climate change) and (local) economic.

So, how about this new measure for Auckland Council:

Can 70% of 8-year-olds walk to school and/or the shops by themselves?

Sound crazy? That was normal just a generation ago.

The pop-up cycleway in Cambridge, part of an Innovating Streets project, aimed to make it easier for kids to cycle to school.

You can read more of Tim Gill’s research in this downloadable report: Building Cities Fit for Children Case studies of child-friendly urban planning and design in Europe and Canada.

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60 comments

  1. “Leadership from elected members is enormously helpful. Behind closed doors there is advocacy from all local boards in Auckland for better PT and active transport choices. We need to front up to communities, to talk about the trade-offs and opportunities and back the officers trying to make good things happen.

    The Mayor should be doing this. So should Central Government.”

    100%! Instead of throwing AT to the wolves like Goff did in St Heliers, we need to be selling the benefits. Imagine if a fraction of the Covid advertising spend was used to get people on side with the much needed changes to make Auckland\Aotearoa a climate friendly/livable place.

  2. Putting children and future generations first is always the right thing to do since neither have a voice. And as you demonstrate here it turns out that what is good for children in urban design is good for us all and for the future of the planet. Your international examples of prioritising places for children to play and ways to get around safely should sharpen determination to do what is required here too despite the current dominance of private cars. It’s a possible dream worth fighting for.

    1. Yes, and not just because of local walking catchment. There are some lovely playgrounds in Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Mt Eden etc. but very few people with kids can afford to live in the villa belt.

      1. Its quite disgraceful the difference in the quality of playgrounds in the affluent areas. Although I have spoken to a maintenance guy once, I said its a real pity someone decided to break that equipment, he said this is nothing out in West Auckland it gets trashed every week. So maybe the spend is actually proportionate.

        1. I’ve heard that when the councils were unified the dedicated park budgets were wiped for local areas and put into a Auckland wide kitty. South Auckland had a $50,000,000 that disappeared as soon as the supercity council formed.

          The MT Roskill playgrounds are very popular. It seems smaller, affordable high density housing is creating more demand…

        2. Another great example of failed experiment of Council controlled organization.

          The assumption – Central planning bring efficiency
          The reality – Spent most money on white elephant

          Image your boss else takes all your money and spend it on your behalf…. They will spend it on their expensive business cars. Leaving you with no-frills.

        3. kelvin – What are you on about? Playgrounds are provided by Auckland Council not one of the CCOs.

      2. +1

        Try to find a playground near Queen St/ Downtown. You won’t find any.
        What you will find is is plenty of anti social drug takers.

        1. The downtown area will have hammocks over the water for kids to play on but there is so much potential to create more play space on the wharves and downtown.

        2. Well Myers Park is actually right next to Queen Street. Although it is for small kids only and once you’re there there is not much else to do for older kids or parents.

          I think Aotea Square is a good opportunity. The southern edge is still vacant so to speak so there is an opportunity to have some hospitality there (that actually faces the square).

    2. Also think we need to have a rethink on what a playground should be. Council have created amazing “destination” playgrounds and like the one in Massey massively over supplied with car parking and promoted as a place ( via Our Auckland etc) as a place to visit, and drive to, from all across the city. In my experience children are happy to play in a creative, free form way (think the enjoyment from the cardboard box and not the gift at Christmas) in a space that is open and welcoming.

    3. My wife stopped going to unfenced playgrounds because of safety reasons.
      Children become bored and run out of playgrounds in any direction.

      Mostly they attracted by sidewalks, roads and parked cars.
      Children can run faster, than elder people.

      So no fencing – no kids on Playground

  3. Until we finally realize that the planet/country/city/neighborhood is not ours ,to shape to our own short term goals,not much will change.
    It is difficult to take a utopian view ,when all you can see is traffic piled up in front of you,and you imagine that “one more lane” will get you where you need to be faster.
    I believe that the indigenous representation on councils is a step in the right direction,given the chance,they have always had an holistic view of how societies work.
    I have seen quite a few councils run a youth segment to get some better engagement,but given that young people don’t vote,it is probably fairly safe to assume that their views are ignored.
    The ice block test is a good one, l wonder how many councilors would squirm in their seats,imagining their children/grandchildren “running the gauntlet ” in their neighbourhoods

  4. Great post, Alex. The trick is getting what we know into our investment plans.

    Do you have an idea for a pathway to getting that measure adopted, with teeth?

    Will you present to the Planning Committee? Get it onto all the Local Board agendas, into the Letter of Expectation, into the next annual plan… get political support for establishing it as an AT CEO KPI with salary contingent on success.

    In an ideal world, they’ll understand it’s a way of measuring the sort of work we need to do to meet our safety, climate and equity goals. The work to achieve it would be one of the “climate action” measures the RLTP is currently missing.

    All I can say is, when the paradigm shift happens, this will be possible – and more.

    When.

    1. Hi Heidi, so one thing the Waitemata Local Board plan has done is feed back that the current local board measures for the environment could be improved and we suggest measuring how many children walk to school. Desley Simpson has suggested that there may be some tweaks to the long term plan next year because of shifting around in budgets and priorities. It may allow us to put in some meaningful measures at that point. In the meanwhile we shall put our money where our mouths are as a local board and invest what local board capex we have in more active transport choices and safer road treatments particularly around schools and town centres.

  5. Thinking about the ice block test for the places where I’ve lived so far: the winner would probably be the apartment on Hobson Street. We had a dairy on our block. Still, it firmly fits into the “cell” quadrant.

  6. I’ve been in love with the all ages city since first learning about the idea in the Auckland Conversations that Gil Penalosa came to. If it’s save for an 8 year old to access, it’s probably safe for an 80 year old too – we all benefit.
    It’s maddening that we have all this knowledge but it’s so hard to apply it!

    https://conversations.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/events/8-80-city-creating-vibrant-and-healthy-communities

    “How can we create vibrant and healthy cities for everyone, regardless of age or social status? What is the role of streets – the largest public space in any city? How can parks improve the quality of life that attracts and retains people to their communities?
    Gil answers these questions while also explaining a simple and effective principle for inclusive city building: ensuring the safety and joy of children and older adults (from 8 year olds to 80 year olds) are at the forefront of every decision we make in our cities.”

    If anyone wants to rewatch (Auckland Council was really nailing it with the old Auckland Conversations)

  7. Another step for making city child-friendly is to make having kids normal. Today having kids in Auckland is a bit disastrous. When we had one child and were looking (for apartment) somewhere central was a bit difficult – nobody wanted a family with a child. When we had 2 children it was even worse – we ended up renting second most-expensive 2 bd apartment in the area (which stayed on a market for a few months), just because all our other applications were refused or ignored. Having 3 kids in Auckland is like having a plague, we did more than a dozen of applications for 2 and 3 beds pretty much everywhere, including Grey Lynn, Hobsonville Point and even couple applications in Coatesville, the answer was usually “your family is too big”. After we finally moved to a 3 bedroom townhouse, we had a few neighbours coming to greet us and also sadly exclaiming something like “this place is so small for kids!”. Nobody actually expects a family with children living in walking kind of neighbourhood, I suppose they think we should live somewhere in a mansion on a hectare-sized section.

    1. Yes, there is a lack of family friendly apartments in city center. Even if you found out, there is no state primary school as well.

      You will eventually be forced to move to suburb, not by choice, but by way Auckland plan our city centre.

    2. That’s an awful experience, Andrew, and unfortunately it doesn’t surprise me. When the scales are tipped against renters so much, landlords get to accept tenants based on their own prejudices. We can and should try to tackle each prejudice in turn, but this is also about trying to right that imbalance in power.

  8. Why pocket park for small kids in Brasil , just alongside the road, hasn’t been fenced?

    1. “So no fencing – no kids on Playground”
      Except the Takapuna Beach playground which must be the busiest playground on the Shore.

      1. To be fair, if your kid runs off from there he at least won’t get mangled by 50kmh traffic. It’s also a playground for older kids.

  9. You really understand all this when you have young kids. I certainly have dropped my speed a lot when driving and I am a lot more patient and observing. We don’t let our kids anywhere near the road even though we live on a quiet residential street, mainly because the speed limit is still ridiculously 50km/hr and because parked cars block any chance of a driver seeing a kid running out on the road.
    Street parking is the number one issue in Auckland IMO. Its taking away space that could actually be used for moving people, its encouraging people to have many more cars than they need, and it causes all sorts of safety issues (especially with the move to SUVs). I think the prerequisite for owning a private car should be having your own private space to park it. I can’t think of any other example where we allow people to store their private property on public land for free.

  10. I don’t know anyone who would let an 8 year old go to the shops on their own. They are supposed to be 14 before you leave them home alone so why would you let them wander around town by themselves?

    1. Are you suggesting they need to be chauffeured to school until they’re 14!?

      I don’t see any difference between a kid walking to school and walking to the shops. I walked to school when I was 5, will probably leave it a bit later with my kids but it will be well before they reach 14.

      1. good on you Jezza, we started a local Walking School Bus when our daughter started school – on it she and her friends learnt about getting around safely. As she grew older she started walking to and from school alone or with mates, then riding her bike – she was certainly able to go to the dairy alone as an 8 year old. Now at 14 she is a Hop card owning K Rd Op shopper as are her mates.

        1. The law is specific to home it has never come with any expectations around where children are allowed to walk by themselves.

        2. The law is not specific to the home. It is unlawful to leave a child without reasonable supervision and care. It doesn’t mention the home so it can be applied to leaving them at the mall or leaving them to wander the streets. Neglect is neglect.

        3. Apologies, you’re right it isn’t specific to the home.

          The key thing is reasonable provision for care. This is assessed on a case by case basis by the police depending on the child. It can include making sure the neighbours are aware they are home along, knowing your child can navigate home, knows what to do if they get lost, knows what to do if approached by an adult etc.

        4. Yes, Jezza, it is about reasonable provision, depending on the child, the circumstances and the length of time. When the law was written there is no way it was intended to prevent children from walking places independently as that was standard practice at the time.

          It is legal to babysit other children when you are 14. I would expect teenagers who are in charge of younger children to have been trusted to look after themselves in a number of different scenarios and settings for a few years before they are entrusted with the care of a younger child.

          I personally think the NZ Government’s page is an irresponsible interpretation of the law. The idea that a parent couldn’t pop to the dairy for some milk leaving a 13 year old at home for 15 minutes, for example, is nuts.

          And it’s dangerous: it sets up estranged parents, or prejudiced neighbours, or condescending in-laws, or abusive partners, etc, to be able to find fault in a parent who is doing nothing actually wrong.

      2. Things have changed a bit. There was a time when parents and teachers used to thrash children. But we wised up and standards changed. There was a time when our economy was based on child labour and many kids were expected to leave school at 12 and get a job. Again we got rid of that, (or at least once milking machines and other industrial machines removed the need for kids we kept them in school). The point is times changed.
        You might think an 8 year old wandering the city shows independence, to me it demonstrates neglect.

        1. How interesting.
          Other countries do allow children to wander the city, they have vastly better child happiness statistics than Auckland / NZ, where in a lot of areas we are nearing the bottom of the OECD rankings.

          https://www.unicef.org.nz/stories/new-report-card-shows-that-new-zealand-is-failing-its-children

          Obviously there are many other factors at play, but surely a child being able to be independent is critical to them being happy? Clearly there is a line somewhere, I’m not advocating 6 year old’s take a train into queen street at 11pm. But going to visit friends or sports during the day by yourself at 8 again is totally normal overseas and carting kids around for every single trip is unhealthy. Clearly we are doing something wrong in NZ. And doing worse than we used to, that sounds like neglect to me.

        2. I agree things change, which is why my kids wont walk to school on their own once they turn 5, roads aren’t as safe as they used to be. However, the idea that a 12 or 13 year old kid walking to school by themselves is neglect is absurd.

          Change doesn’t automatically mean the age needs to get older either. An improvement to the design of our streets, speed limits etc could mean the next generation are safer to walk themselves at younger ages.

        3. It has never been safe for a 5 year old to walk on their own. Mrs mfwic had to walk to school in Glendene when she was 5. She got bullied and punched on the way home by a crazy bigger girl who told if she talked she would kill her.

          There is this daft idea that things used to be good and somehow humankind spoiled things. It is complete crap. Life for most of the population of the world has never been as good as it is now (pandemic excepted). It will get better than this too.

        4. Nobody is claiming it is safe for a 5 year old to be out by himself.

          For 8 year old, things will hopefully get better than this so it should become safe for an 8 year old go walk to school or to a local dairy.

        5. Well I hope that works out for you and your kid. If it doesn’t you have the rest of your life to think about it.

        6. Opportunity costs miffy, while the results of one bad event (however unlikely) are much more obvious, there are costs associated with not letting the kids have independence. They are likely to be happier going out by themselves, and its better for their development. While the cause and effect are not obvious, the cost associated with not allowing children independence and letting them go out on their own actually on average will be fairly high.

          I hope parents that overly shelter their children and cause them to have worse lives because of it think about their actions too.

        7. “You might think an 8 year old wandering the city shows independence, to me it demonstrates neglect.”
          We have different opinions. As an 9 year old our son moved around Thorndon, going to school, the Thorndon hill reserve, and the local New World. By 12 he was independent enough to undertake a paper route around Takapuna. At 14 he was confident to have a cafe job. Some kids when they are taught self sufficiency can just get out and do it.
          At 20 he is the most unsafe he has ever been having been king hit in Auckland city, and badly hurt trying to break up a fight also in the city. Maybe we did treat him poorly, teaching him to look after himself and others?

        8. Excellent comments thanks, Jack. Independence is critical for children’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

        9. I’d say not giving your child the opportunity for some independence before they turn 14 is more neglectful than letting a responsible 8 year old walk to the dairy.

        10. miffy, you’ve got access to the research about importance of independence. The problem here is the danger of traffic, and bringing in other concerns is distraction. When you write:

          “You might think an 8 year old wandering the city shows independence, to me it demonstrates neglect.”

          You are passing judgment unfairly and ignoring that to grow in understanding and ability, children need independence.

          Allowed independence, children grow in confidence. First just playing inside the property but talking to people walking by, then playing a little on the footpath just in front of the house, and learning about the dangers of driveways there, then exploring the length of footpath within sight, then the whole street, then around the corner, then the block without going on a main road, then the suburb, the city.

          What’s needed is safe streets. What’s most definitely not needed is ignoring that need by calling parents negligent.

    2. Depends on the 8 year old, and depends on the shops though right?
      My 7 year old goes into the local dairy by themselves. Only a few doors down from our house.

    3. You beat me to it Miffy.
      This is a huge issue in countries like Canada, and similar in NZ.

      http://5kids1condo.com/we-won-common-sense-prevails-in-bus-dad-case/

      This guy was threatened to have his children removed and put into state care, and was taken to court because he was letting his children take the standard public bus to school by themselves in Vancouver.

      This video is worth a watch for anyone interested. Quite well edited and researched I think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul_xzyCDT98

      We’re not quite that bad here (compared to US and Canada), at least the majority of our sprawl suburbs have sidewalks. But I think the design of Auckland has contributed significantly to this perception and culture that it is unsafe to let your children out by themselves (not the other way around). It seems to me the common denominator between these high children independence / happiness cities and low child happiness and independence cities is the difference in mode share and underlying infrastructure.

  11. Awesome work Alex, I love everything about this. The cousins were here from the Gold Coast last week so we spent the day doing what we love to do most, just cruising around the city. Ferry from Devonport, walk through Commercial Bay, down to Wynyard Quarter playground, back past the boats, through Te Komititanga to Takutai Square and the kids played on every unique surface, hopped from one tidal step of Karanga to the next, climbed up each volcanic train vent, and slid down the other side, piled up beanbags in Takutai and crashed on top of them. It was a full day of city-loving joy for my little ones and it was uplifting for us all. Imagine if all our public spaces were as impressively connected and thoughtfully designed as downtown Tāmaki.

    1. I really hope they put children playground in city near the queen St/downtown area.

      Possible locations includes:

      -Fort St popup park
      -New Quay St foreshore
      -Queens Wharf
      -Freberg square
      -Lower Queen st (outside of commercial bay)
      -Elliot st
      -In front of Auckland City library
      -Emily Place
      -Albert Park
      -Easter Viaduct public place
      -The lawn between Brown Ave/Kitchener st (calm those St as well)
      -Permeant(non popup) playground in Aotea Square seamlessly linking Myer Park

      As you can see, there is many space and opportunities. It just lacks vision.

      1. One thing I would say is that my kids actually love playing in lots of places that are not playgrounds. The trees in Albert Park are great to climb. The waterfront has lots of play elements and two great playgrounds in Wynyard Quarter. The Myers Park playground and splashpad are good in summer (if we are allowed to have the water on!) Kids also seem to find things to do in Aotea Square, climbing trees, scootering, skateboarding etc. Little kids do a lot of exploring around Freyberg Square. As for the space in between these places though well yes, we do need more things. The Central Library is hoping to make the area around Lorne St more child-friendly and I am hoping that the Albert Park cottage can be a hub for fun activities particularly in summer and weekends. Love all the suggested ideas. Great food for thought.

  12. Really good post. Child-friendly city is a good and productive facet of inclusive design for people. Thinking of streets as only for moving the “most (self) important” people about (i.e. “me”) results in exclusion. Thinking of streets as places for all be people to be, including for moving around, does more for inclusion.
    Those of us who grew up with freedom to move, meet and play in our neighbourhoods should not condemn current and future generations to consumer entertainment boxed up at home. Owners of land and capital need to be encouraged to see this as the rights of people. Public authorities do have a duty to seek out and listen to the voices of those who do not have a vote – yet. Senior students in any high school and many primary schools can understand and express these issues. There is little real excuse to ignore them.

    1. Yes. It’s also a requirement of the Auckland Climate Plan to allow planning to be led by youth to allow the repair of intergenerational inequity. And in recommitting to the C40 requirements, this is the sort of commitment that needs to be mainstreamed.

      What I’m seeing, though, is that this is being ignored.

  13. Just read about another LTN biting the dust (Henderson), some irony in children holding “traffic chaos ” signs.

  14. There is a missed opportunities to put children playground/amenity in Auckland City Centre. For example Foot St popup park, Freyberg square, or the new Quay St foreshore should have children playground area.

    Every time I bring my kid to Queen St my kid I feel guilty because there is not much thing for my kid to do.

    There is no playground. The closest playground is Myer Park, Silo park, Victoria park. But there is a huge VOID in between those parks (aka Queen St/downtown area)

    I decided to bring my kid to shopping malls because they got some indoor playground area, usually a few big toyshops, and plenty of child friendly food and drinks.

    No wonder there is no family apartment in the City Centre. Most of them is either student shoebox, or 2 bedroom apartments for young professional.

    Once the young people have kids, they usually move from city to suburb. The reason is very obvious. A lack of walkable state primary school, and a lack of amenity for young children, and increasingly more anti-social people as well.

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