Also: Why mayors keep offering tax breaks, and measuring ‘anti-social capital.’

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***

What We’re Following

Drawn together: Kids living in poverty often lack access to the advantages of life in cities. Their families may live far from services and opportunities, or in denser but poorer neighborhoods that lack child-friendly amenities, like green space or safe streets. As a result, they’re sometimes worse off than children who live in the countryside. It’s with this in mind that UNICEF made a handbook to tackle a key design challenge: How to provide spaces where children living in urban poverty can play and prosper.

The public places in this Kibera neighborhood in Kenya include meeting areas and markets, along with a playground that local kids helped design. (Kounkuey Design Initiative)

The focus on playgrounds is an important one. The idea is that by drawing kids to playgrounds, you can encourage adults to use other services and opportunities in the city. And the play spaces featured in the guide were built using principles that can be applied anywhere: from an immigrant neighborhood in Brussels, to the refugee encampments of Bar Elias, Lebanon, to an informal settlement located outside Nairobi, Kenya (pictured above). In one case, designers brought children into the brainstorming and design process to give them a sense of ownership over the project. “I am here to build the playground with you,” a five-year old told them, “so when I go back to Syria, I can build one myself.”

Today on CityLab: How to Design Playgrounds for the World’s Most Vulnerable Kids

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Why Mayors Keep Trying To Woo Business With Tax Breaks

U.S. mayors are split on whether business incentives are good politics, but most believe—despite evidence to the contrary—that they’re good policy.

Richard Florida

How Affordable Housing Can Improve the American Economy

Building more affordable housing units in the metros that are centers of innovation will increase demand for the wares that fill houses, and increase productivity.

Richard Florida

We Should Measure ‘Anti-Social Capital’

Cities that employ large numbers of security guards may also have lower levels of social trust.  

Joe Cortright

How Houston Has Virtually Ended Homelessness Among Veterans

Can the city's model work for chronic homelessness, in Houston and beyond?

Rebecca Gale

Why People Still Don’t Buy Groceries Online

We shop online for almost everything. Why not food?

Alana Semuels


What We’re Reading

The war over Amazon’s HQ2 is playing out in people’s mailboxes (Fast Company)

Millions could lose power under PG&E’s plan to prevent wildfires (NPR)

Farm Belt bankruptcies are soaring (Wall Street Journal)

Op-ed: We need a national rural broadband plan (New York Times)

NYPD demands Google stop revealing drunken driving checkpoints (NBC News)


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