Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cars Curb Children's Play

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cars Curb Children's Play

Article excerpt

The domination of the car in Britain's cities has set off a chain of events which has pushed young people towards the margins of society and stigmatised them as little more than an environmental problem.

That is the conclusion of one essay in Play, Participation and Potential, a new publication recently published by environmental regeneration organisation Groundwork.

The car has curbed the freedom of young people more than any other development in the last century, says Ken Worpole, writing on the topic of play in the city.

As a result, young people have been restricted from using the spaces which were once a rite of passage in growing up ( the high street, the road, pavement, gate, front steps and front door, effectively removing them from being a presence in their own communities.

Moreover the playgrounds created for young people as a substitute are not just few and far between, they are, according to Ken Worpole, sanitised and dull, offering no element of risk and pushing young people towards more dangerous, unsociable ways of engaging with their neighbourhoods.

This kind of anti-social behaviour by young people is constantly in our headlines.

It is a key focus of the Government's Respect Action Plan published last month and the youth green paper, Youth Matters.

Mervyn Blades, Groundwork North-East's regional director, said: "It's good to see Government talking about investing in good behaviour as well as deterring bad.

"In Groundwork's experience giving people the opportunity to have a say in their neighbourhoods and get involved in making them better places to live is a really effective way of encouraging pro-social behaviour at the same time as tackling anti-social behaviour.

"People care deeply about the place where they live, so giving everybody ( young and old ( a stake in their communities is one of the best ways of fostering respect.

"For example, Low Simonside Bounce, was a dilapidated playground. …

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