Sunday, July 27, 2014

Are play spaces for kids being neglected in the urban lifestyle?

Most definitely yes! Modernist planners simply don’t put any care into designating space for children. Outdoor playgrounds designed by architects, on the other hand, tend to impose hard, inhuman forms and spaces. No child feels comfortable there. The sprawling suburban house was thought to provide space for play in the dismal basement “playroom” and in a fenced backyard. But that ignores the need for socialization, which can only occur among peers within a common public space. The wide suburban street doesn’t work: it turns potentially deadly whenever a pickup truck comes speeding by. The shopping mall’s over-regulated private environment offers an extremely poor substitute space for children’s play. Thus, wealthy societies lack what many slum dwellers possess: open space where children can run free, tangential to car traffic, with trees and bushes (not insipid front lawn) to play in and around, and where nobody tells them what to do. - Nikos A. Salingaros

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