Moms Aren’t Wrong: Why Planning for Children Would Make Cities Better for All

In preparation for the ULI Minnesota Young Leader’s Group Annual Program I’m helping to organize in March, I’m posting links to a number of articles to explore some of the issues that will be addressed.  The program is called Kid-Friendly Cities, and will focus on how policies, built form and development decisions effect livability, with a focus on kids and young families.

This first article, by Alexandra Lange in GOOD has it all: the connection between livability for kids and other age groups, economic impacts, safety issues and built form.  Its pretty much exactly what I hope the program will be, in article form.

An article in The New York Times this summer detailed an initiative, spearheaded by the New York Academy of Medicine and Deputy Mayor for Health & Human Services Linda Gibbs, to make New York more “age-friendly.” Longer walk signals, more public restrooms, minimizing corner puddles, “perches” in stores on which to take a break.

All these measures sounded admirable—but they would improve the lives of more than the elderly. The incentive to fix New York for seniors is money: According to the AARP, a third of the nation’s population is over 50, but they control half the discretionary spending. Kids don’t have cash, but their parents and grandparents certainly do, and more families staying in the city would have general economic and social benefits. Seniors and juniors aren’t the only groups whose interests align, but are balkanized in their advocacy. Children could lead cyclists, developers, school officials, and health nuts to their more perfect city, if only we would listen.

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