Children living in de Pijp in the 1970s had a much different view of the city than those today. De Pijp wasn’t the cleanest of neighborhoods. It was overcrowded, lacked any sort of greenery, and the streets were filled with cars.
Children complained that they had no safe places to play. Years before, children played in the streets. With the automobile taking over Amsterdam, children (and elderly) were no longer safe playing in or near the streets.
These children decided to take it upon themselves to become their own urban planners — placemakers, really. They devise a plan to create a play street, got support from neighbors, and started a campaign. Check out the footage (from Bicycle Dutch).
This example demonstrates the importance of a holistic approach to the city at eye level. It’s not only about shops and cafes. It’s about traffic, too. And what about the children? Child-friendly cities are important not only for the safety and well-being of our kids, but for the sustainability of our cities.
Today we can’t imagine what de Pijp, or Amsterdam, would look like if the same amount–or more–cars were present. Chaos! And an unlivable city.