I ran across this quote in an article about allowing our kids to inform our observations about our places. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. When I was five, I walked to school every day by myself. There was one busy street I needed to cross, but I have to think it wasn’t as busy as the streets in our town are now.
Yesterday as I was walking CJ in to school, she asked, “When can I walk to school by myself?” She craves that independence, that ability to do something by herself. And though I fully support her in this – we’ve explored before how essential this is to a child’s developing abilities, how it affects her cognitive development, how other cultures actively encourage this independence – the traffic on our local streets runs fast. The streets are wide and difficult to cross. There are no crossing guards in the morning (and not enough in the afternoon). We’ve made a city for the able-bodied, but there’s no place here for my little girl and her burgeoning sense of independence.
Jane Jacobs takes this one step further and encourages us to consider a city that is actually created BY everybody. I don’t know exactly what this looks like, but how much healthier would our places be if this were something we strived for? Maybe I’ll ask the girls today. What does a city made for you look like?