Based around the simple concept that cities incubate new businesses, connect people, ideas, money and markets while their ports and airports connect us to the world, a non-profit group called CEO's for Cities seeks to help augment and revive cities by helping them to throw off the negative connotations so often associated with them.
And now it seems they're working to find ways to encourage young families to stay in cities and raise their children in a more sustainable atmosphere than your average suburban neighborhood.
Part of that means recognizing that for 50 years having a first child often meant heading out of the city in search of a more "family-friendly" lifestyle. But they point out that currently young adults are 33 percent more likely than other Americans to live in close-in neighborhoods, and that progressive urban leaders are asking if they can break the traditional pattern of family migration to the suburbs.
As a lifelong suburbanite myself, I have to admit I wonder if it's even possible...
But they seem optimistic, turning to the Institute of Design and asking teams of designers to help shed some light on how young families might be moved to alter the behavior that has so long been commonplace, and the course of history in the process.
Not surprisingly, the approach has been to study urban parents. And rather than asking them what they might do in hypothetical situations, they studied what people choosing to raise their children in cities are actually doing already. They also made sure to interview urban and suburban parents who found their current living situations in the city or the suburbs to be far from ideal.
And while they found that the top concerns of parents about city living are safety, space and schools, they also discovered that satisfied urban parents had ways to address each of those issues in a positive way. To the happy urban parent the very nature of the city alleviated their safety concerns with its density and "eyes on the street." They also supplemented their lack of private space by using the city's public spaces, such as parks and sidewalks. And they augmented their children's education with the city's diversity and cultural and other assets.
Currently, the folks at CEOs for Cities are working with urban leaders from New York, Chicago, Portland and Akron to develop and test a wide range of strategies to support and scale the behaviors of urban families as part of their first-ever Learning Network. Efforts that will be documented over the next 18 months and hopefully provide general insights for urban leaders from all cities to help turn the tide of migration from cities towards them.
I confess that I'm genuinely interested to see what they come up with, especially as recent research shows a lack of free time in open spaces is stifling creativity among kids across America.
via:: Ash Boopathy