Monday, January 19, 2009

Canaries in a Coalmine

Children, says David Sucher, are like the canaries in the coal mine: an indicator species of urban health.

Yes, they are small, vulnerable and need to be protected. But they also need to get out a lot more!







These wonderful bikes are available in Renton. There is something about plaid fenders that makes you want to immediately hop on and go for a ride, even in 33F temperatures!



The reality, however, is that most parking lots are uncomfortable with the idea of human activity. And this is such a missed opportunity. Fortunately, many of the neighborhood businesses in Newport Hills recognize that children are at the heart of our community--here we have a thriving dance studio and karate school as well as the batting practice facility across the street. And, of course, the Newport Hills Swim and Tennis Club. There is, however an unfriendly attitude toward children and teens who are not engaged in one of these prescribed activities.

Lesson #4: Provide opportunities for children to bump into one another.

David Sucher, by the way, was (is?) a Seattle developer who wrote a wonderful book in 1995 called City Comforts. I owe a huge debt to his insights and examples.

4 comments:

Blogalot said...

Love the Mardi Gras photo from Italy. Of course the catch is that there are virtually no cars allowed in the piazza. Wonder if anyone would be interested in erecting a parking garage at the NH shopping center and turning the existing lot into a real "square" for public gatherings (complete with benches, grass, water features, etc.)...

RobinB said...

The benches, grass, water features, etc. are all possible. Maintenance is an issue. Because the owner doesn't live in the community and is quite elderly it would fall to a core group of neighborhood volunteers to keep an eye on things. They would have to act as "stewards" until the next renter or buyer comes along. I love the idea that you reverse the roles by putting parking in the store and let people inhabit the parking lot! Thanks!

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