How it is
According to research conducted by Play England, 71% of adults say they played out in the street every day when they were children. For today’s children that figure is only 21%. Children spend less time outdoors than people incarcerated in our prisons.
How it could be
Affordable and efficient public transport has reduced the need for private vehicles and many residential areas have become traffic free zones. Our streets are safe for children to play in and our neighbourhoods have come back to life.
How we make it happen
This is our space to share ideas for how we can make the vision a reality. Please share your thoughts in the comments below and, if possible, links to existing initiatives.
Ideas so far:
1) Playing Out, based in Bristol, have done some excellent work on play streets. Check out their step by step guide. Under Covid playing together with people who are not family members has been put on hold, but sign up to their newsletter to keep up to date with further developments.
2) This policy paper highlights the need for outdoor play during lockdown and makes the following suggestions:
• Enforcement of 20mph limits and reduction to 20mph on urban streets
• Temporary closure of some streets to through traffic, with road signs and other
• Temporary widening of pavement space to create more space for pedestrians; and
narrow and slow the flow of motor traffic
• Priority to non-motor vehicle road users on all but main roads
3) Contact your local councillor quoting the research above. Ask them what they are doing to ensure children (and adults) can play outdoors.
4) Once you and your community can play out safely, start collecting testimonials. How is playing out effecting people’s wellbeing and sense of community? Use these for your safe streets campaign.
5) Support the Campaign for Better Transport. Read about their plans to accelerate the shift to sustainable transport, and improve quality of life and the natural environment in their strategic report.
Where it’s happening
Check out what they are planning in Milan: “Coronavirus-hit Lombardy city will turn 35km of streets over to cyclists and pedestrians.”
“Playing in public is a demonstration in every sense of the word: a demonstration of how easy it is to transform a public space to a play space. A demonstration of how easy it is to take a place of anonymity and change it to a place of intimacy. A demonstration of how easily we can change a no trespassing zone to a zone of shared laughter. ”Bernard de Koven, Deep Play