Pediatricians are Urbanists
Having dog-eared to death my own copy of their "Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5" reference book, and given copies to about 30+ of my friends and family, I think you can call me a fan of the American Academy of Pediatrics. So lo and behold when I learned through Discovering Urbanism that AAP has put out a very pro-urban policy statement: "The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children."
I covered this ground a little in a previous post, but to have AAP sing the praises of walking and density certainly gives the argument a lot more oomph. Maybe parents that automatically assume they must move to the suburbs for the good of their kids will consider that such a move may in fact exacerbate other dangers like obesity, isolation, and anxiety.
Meanwhile, city-lovers should have some take-aways from this paper as well. After all, it is only safer and better to walk to school rather than get driven if you don't find unhealthy nutritional choices, pedestrian-inhospitable stretches, and criminal activity along the way. And video games, iPods, and junk food are no less available in cities, so just because public spaces are more geographically proximate doesn't mean they will be used; hence the need to think about how we can create parks and streets where kids can be active, feel safe, and have fun.
"Thus says the LORD, 'I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.' Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Old men and old women will again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of age. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets.' Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?' declares the LORD of hosts." - Zechariah 8:3-6