Back in June, I wrote a piece about how, compared to sprawl, smart growth produces places better suited to raising children. The overall takeaway was simple: When kids are able to navigate the world around them, manage conflicts, make decisions, screw up and recover, they’re better off for it. And place is a big contributor to that. Attracting families to life in the city can be a difficult endeavor. But given the stakes, it’s a critical one.
Over the course of the post, I touched on a lot of different things. Vancouver, and the challenges they faced with their own smart growth efforts. Buying happiness, helicopter parenting and fragile, teacup children. The value of independence, and the need to align political and market forces to make things happen. And, oh yeah. Popsicles.
Which idea do you think actually went somewhere?
Sense of community. It’s been a rallying cry of New Urbanists since the beginning and for good reason. For years leading up to the birth of the neo-traditionalists, it didn’t take much effort to realize that our surroundings had changed—a lot—and not for the better.
Our neighborhoods—subdivisions, really—were isolating us from each other and from the things we needed to get done. Despite the ample comforts we’d developed to help mitigate the separation, that’s simply not a good recipe for human productivity, much less fulfillment.
There was a hole to be filled, and the distinctly market-based New Urbanists stepped in to fill it. Continue reading
Here’s a story of hope for the holidays. And like most good stories, it begins with bad news.
On April 20, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killing 11 of its 126 rig workers. That was the first tragedy. Then, came the second, as oil from the uncapped well began spilling into the Gulf. By mid-July, when the well was finally secured, more than 170 million gallons had flowed into the deep waters, and arguments escalated about whom to blame and about how many terrible things were likely to happen. Continue reading