5. The FUN city
The desirable city, the city that favours fun and leisure.
Building a desirable city means discussing the profitability of productive and non-productive activities. Are our cities prepared for the school calendar in the same way that they are prepared to host major conferences for businessmen?
In the book “The caring city”, the author launches this question with the premise that boys and girls have 190 days per year without school, of which 104 usually coincide with weekends. This leaves 86 non-school days for children in cities in which their parents continue to work.
Are companies alone responsible for balancing work and family life or is it also the responsibility of the way in which cities and their services are conceived?
The balance between commitments and family life is also the responsibility of the city when it is almost impossible to run errands while looking after your children. It does not occur to us to think that situations of this type could be different, but here is the thing: they can.
Incentives to play can be integrated in the places where adults have obligations to fulfil, where they go to handle a formality or facilitate the resolution of other requirements. Lady Allen of Hurtwood said that children play wherever they are, and it is true. Taking this premise into account when designing cities would enable us to achieve, through design, an integrated development of childhood and the wellbeing of carers.
Some examples that may seem silly but which I am sure that with experience would have posed a higher level of humanity:
If there were a sand box or an urban garden between the sober walls of the post office building or the tax offices, our little ones could perform a leisure activity, which they could share with their busy parents, without compromising their development based on stimuli and, thus, the balance would be more possible, easier and more fun.