Children in the city : the role of public recreational space
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While American cities are growing in size and population, they are losing one important group of people: children. Young people are essential to the vitality and social fabric of cities, yet cities are becoming increasingly unfriendly to young people and their families. Housing in cities is expensive, streets are devoted more to vehicles than pedestrians or bikes, and recreational space is not frequently convenient or adequate for the needs of children. While working to address any one of these needs would create greater equality for children, this report examines the impact of green recreational space for children. Adding green space to a city not only provides children with opportunities to play, which is vital to social, physical, and emotional development, but it also creates healthier communities with lower levels of crime and higher levels of community engagement. Creating spaces that are child-friendly and cherished by the community is not difficult, and can be achieved through deliberate planning and engagement with children. Due to recent downtown development initiatives, Austin has a unique opportunity to create green places for the community where children can play freely downtown.
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