06 March 2009

Private Yards vs Socialization

...Car-dependent places design each area for one single land use. They also seem to design for single life stages, too. A large yard may make sense when a child is just learning to walk. However, what happens when children outgrow the yard and want to interact with their peers and explore the world around them? While it is clearly possible to raise children who become successful adults in car-dependent places, it clearly has its shortcomings for pre-teens and carless teenagers...-a D.C. Father
The comments section after this article is full of insightful comments by parents trying to find a balance between freedom and security for their kids. Worth skimming.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to that article.

Curious that the divide here is not so much downtown/suburb but any town/exurb. It makes me think of, say, Blue Ash and West Chester. They may attract the same sort of "family values" crowd, but Blue Ash is much more walkable (or at least bikeable) than West Chester. In Blue Ash, you can't get farther than two miles from a shopping area, and that's two flat bikeable miles on residential streets and sidewalks. Does West Chester even have sidewalks?

I suppose when I buy a house, it will have to be an older one. Because most houses made after 1990 seem to be in areas that may only be called "developments" because they lack the life of actual neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Guess I had the best of both worlds growing up in Oakley. We had fairly sizable back and front yards -- maybe smaller than some in the suburbs, but they felt big enough for a kid -- as well as a walkable neighborhood.

And as some of the commenters on that article note, views about acceptable amounts of freedom for kids have changed a lot in a generation. I was allowed to go down to Oakley Square by myself at around age seven, could walk or bike to Hyde Park Plaza (about a mile) by nine, could take the bus to downtown Cincinnati by myself to go to the library and shop by age twelve. This was in the early 1980s, and I don't get the sense my parents were unusually free or lax, as my friends had comparable freedoms. I don't have kids, but I do get the sense from media and people I know with kids that this would be unusual today.