Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Around the Block

You Can’t Have Family-Friendly Cities Without Kid-Friendly Streets

11:29 AM EDT on June 26, 2017

More American cities are making room for people to live in downtown areas -- even smaller cities like Tucson, Cleveland and Fort Wayne, Indiana. But generally the target demographics are young singles and empty nesters. A lot of cities assume that all parents who can move to the suburbs will do so.

Writer Darin Givens, who lives with his wife and young children in downtown Atlanta, says it doesn't need to be that way. There are now between 5,600 and 7,000 kids living in downtown Vancouver, he writes in a post at Medium. He explains how the city went about making a downtown that works for parents and kids:

Vancouver’s Chief Planner from 2006 to 2012 says there are three elements of family-friendly city design that helped out: bigger housing, amenities for families, and a safe, welcoming public realm (emphasis ours).

As a Downtown Atlanta father of a school-aged kid, I can vouch for those ideas.

We picked the one spot where we could find one of the precious few spacious (by Downtown standards, not by suburban standards) apartments near public space and greenery. The neighborhood could use a lot more of those.

Safe and welcoming? Downtown Atlanta can stand to make some big improvements there.

The advice comes from a Brent Toderian interview at Vox that's worth reading in full. In addition to the design of housing and the provision of services like daycares, Toderian stressed the importance of making streets safe enough for older children to navigate on their own.

More recommended reading today: TransitCenter has an update on Denver's renewed attention to improving bus service and walking access to transit. And Green Caltrain reports that Palo Alto is planning to hike commuter parking fees to fund transit and other service to reduce driving, but the price would still be far less than the price for equivalent transit passes.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

City Pays $150K to Settle Suit Over Cops Who Harassed Man Who Reported Police Parking Misconduct

Justin Sherwood and his lawyer will pocket $152,000 to settle his federal civil rights suit against the city and several officers who harassed him following his 311 calls.

September 28, 2023

Police Brass Gets Booed During E-Vehicle Safety Alliance Meeting for Applauding Deliveristas

Attendees of the E-Vehicle Safety Alliance's latest meeting castigated a Transportation Bureau deputy inspector for saying that delivery workers are responsive to safety issues.

September 28, 2023

Thursday’s Headlines: Unsafe School Streets Edition

A school crossing guard was injured by a drunk driver on Tuesday. Plus more news.

September 28, 2023

EYES ON THE STREET: Drivers Dominate Former W. 22nd Open Street

Meh. The barriers are gone and the cars are back on W. 22nd, but some spaces for people remain.

September 28, 2023

‘Not Grieving Alone’: A Father’s Artistic Journey After Losing Two Kids to Road Violence

Colin Campbell and his wife Gail Lerner lost both their children in a car crash with impaired driver. Now, it's a show.

September 28, 2023
See all posts