England’s ‘Play Streets’ Initiative Shuts Down Streets so Kids are Free to Play in their Neighborhoodby Jennifer Chait, 06/17/13
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An outstanding new initiative called Play Streets has just launched in Reading, a large town in Berkshire, England. Though an ocean away, this locale’s bright idea is something many communities worldwide should try to imitate and implement. The concept behind Play Streets is to close down a street for a set time in order to allow children to play safely on their own street with friends who live nearby (Yep, just like how we used to play in our neighborhoods as kids). For adults, the program offers the added opportunity to get to know their neighbors. A Play Street can be created for up to three hours, on any day of the week, and up to once every fortnight — giving kids some free time without parents having to worry that they’re running around with cars. Inhabitants of residential neighborhoods can fill out an application requesting to participate. Due to the nature of the program, applicants must collect supporting signatures from about two-thirds of all residents who live on the street. The program will be running as a trial for one year, but hopefully Play Streets will be a success and will continue indefinitely. This program is a great way to help increase childhood activity while allowing kids to simply be kids. Wouldn’t you love to see a program like this in your community?