Raising children in the city could be considered somewhat novel in a country where the conventional wisdom dictates a move to the suburbs as a family grows. But one family in Washington, DC is glad they stayed in the city, which they believe offers benefits that suburbs often can’t replicate. The challenge is to ensure that more families can reap the same benefits from living and growing in a city.
Getting around is a perpetual logistical problem for families. The experience of getting to school, both as a student and now as a parent, has demonstrated to me just how inequitable our transportation system is and what a barrier it is to opportunity.
In the conversations about cities, much of the media attention has been focused on young professional or older, retiring Americans. But families with children have been largely overlooked in the midst of our current urban renaissance. There has been some recent debated over whether the number of children (and thus families) is increasing or on the decline in cities, and it got us thinking: what would a place designed for families look like?
Want to learn about new, innovative strategies for creating great places? Several upcoming webinars provide ideas and inspiration for local leaders.
School Siting: Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities for Communities and Decision-makers
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 – 1:00-2:15 PM EDT
Click here to register
This webinar will help districts, schools, and communities understand the importance of school siting and the impacts on economic development, public health, and the environment. A panel of experts, including Suzi Ruhl, Senior Attorney Policy Advisor in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice; Regina Langton, Senior Policy Analyst, EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities; and Katherine Moore, Manager of Georgia Conservancy’s Sustainable Growth program, will provide participants with information and tools with school siting decisions.
Crossposted from the Governors’ Institute on Community Design.
Fuel costs are rising rapidly, and individual drivers aren’t the only ones feeling the pain. School transportation systems around the country are struggling to adjust to cost increases. In a survey of school districts conducted last month, almost 76 percent of transportation directors report that rising fuel costs are affecting operations.
Unfortunately, in the past few decades many school districts have – literally – built gas price vulnerability into the system, often influenced by shortsighted state standards for school construction and renovation. For example, many states require schools to be built on excessively large lots to accommodate fields and parking.
As a result, more and more schools are built on the outskirts of communities, far away from the students they serve. While 87 percent of students lived within one mile of school in 1969, that number had dropped to 21 percent (PDF) by 2001. Even when students live within walking distance, roads are often too hazardous for walking to be a safe option.