The “Popsicle test” is a great way to think about the livability of a city. It considers whether or not an 8-year-old can safely get to a store by themselves, buy a popsicle and make it home again before it melts. In his latest column, Scott Doyon considers the relationship between livable cities, parenting and childhood development:
For quite a while I’ve been following the great advocacy of people like Lenore Skenazy, with her Free-Range Kids movement, and Mike Lanza, on his quest to re-establish the culture of “Playborhoods.” A lot of other parents are doing likewise. These are folks who realize that, for a child, having increasing opportunities to navigate the world around them, explore, invent, fall down, scrape knees, make decisions, screw up, get into — and solve — conflicts and, ultimately, achieve a sense of personal identity and self-sufficiency is a good thing. The right thing.
But you can’t do it easily just anywhere. Place matters. It matters in the design of the streets and the things they connect to. It matters in the variety of uses, opportunities and activities. It even matters in the diversity of housing types. After all, smaller homes or accessory units end up housing people who appreciate, and want to be able to afford, the prospect of being a stay-at-home parent. Or seniors offering options for drop-off babysitting. Not because it’s their corporate value proposition and you’re paying them a thousand bucks a month but because they’re your neighbors and they care about you.
Smart Growth = Smart Parenting [Placeshakers]