Do you remember when you could just go out and play? Now children don’t have the freedom to play outside, as you did, because the streets are full of cars and it is dangerous for them to toss the ball around, or just chase each other.
Sydney’s Inner West Council wants to test the feasibility of “play streets” later this year. Two streets were chosen for the trial.
“Play street” means that the traffic will be shut down for two or three hours on Sunday afternoons, in order to allow children to play outdoors.
There are more and more families with children living in high density areas, so the Inner West Council decided to create an opportunity for kids to play outside. This proposal has its advantages: by spending more time outdoors children will be happier and healthier and by encouraging people to spend more time outside, in the neighbourhood, a sense of community will be created.
Anna York, Inner West Council councillor, thinks that play streets are a great solution for parents who are trying to get children away from technologies but they don’t have a backyard, or the one they have is too small.
She told Sydney Morning Herald that playing streets are reminiscent of the childhood she had. “The idea of ‘play streets’ is to give our kids a taste of the kind of play we remember from our childhoods – by providing a safe and fun outdoor play space for kids in a home environment – right outside the front door.”
This type of program can be found in Great Britain and in USA and it is part of the global movement which encourages children to play outdoors more and socialise.
The council already asked the resident to suggest streets where this program can be implemented. The main criteria that they had to follow was that the street must be within “easy walking distance” from a park or an open space. Residents have already suggested around 30 locations.