The Family-Friendly Urban Neighborhoods Initiative is about making Center City more supportive of and attractive to families with children. There are many reasons to encourage children and families to live in the Center City. Families can especially benefit from, and support, the abundant cultural opportunities and conveniences that characterize living in an urban core. Also, designing a city for kids requires special attention to pedestrian-friendly, accessible, and safe design, which makes Center City Seattle healthier for everyone shopping, living, working, and playing here.
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Our Work to Date
Our City Staff Workbook is available for download.
Dara O'Byrne, a Master of Urban Planning graduate of the University of Washington, submitted a thesis on engaging families with children in Center City Seattle in 2006. Her thesis focuses on the South Lake Union neighborhood.
The reports below demonstrate the range of research and policy work being done around the world on the topic of bringing families with children back into our cities.
Vancouver's design guidelines for high-density family housing, adopted in 1992, was critical in guiding the residential housing boom in downtown Vancouver, BC. A 2007 post-occupancy evaluation report of False Creek North, a new family-oriented downtown neighborhood, documents the reactions of pioneering families to life in an urban core. The Vancouver Sun also published a summarized post-occupancy study in 2008.
In 2007, CEO for Cities published a report on attracting families with children to live in cities as "urban pioneers". Concepts from this report are being tested in Chicago, Portland, and Akron.
The Home Zones concept in the UK, explained in this 2005 report, aims to make streets safer and more community-oriented—a necessity for family-oriented neighborhoods.
The UNESCO Growing Up in Cities Project published a Manual for Participation in 2002, discussing ways to encourage and prioritize children's participation in the design of their own environment.