Tag Archives: Slow Cities

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Seeing at Child-Scale Helps us Slow Down, Appreciate More, and Play

What does it mean to be a child in a city, or anywhere? How does a child see things? Quite differently from adults, as it happens. This perspective might help many of us to slow down, appreciate more, and be more playful, as we orient to a child’s experience of scale.

The Hand-Made Play Collaborative in Tokyo (one of the busiest cities in the world) investigated how children enjoy and learn from non-commercial play, by telling¬† “one story of the everyday treasures of a rainy day walk“.

This is their map of a child’s experience of a city.

Children experience a great deal from the time within the pauses of activity, the research tells us. They like routine —¬† a small ritual within a routine walk can have great meaning. They learn by experiencing and experimenting, by noticing similarities and differences and moving things around. Adults tend to hurry kids, to grow impatient with their observations and not honor the way they experience time.

The main message from Hand-Made Play:

Slow Down. Stop and listen.

It can be a challenge to get out of our adult mindsets and concerns to do this. The rewards, however, are rich for both children and adults. Paying attention to child-scale could impact our actions and even our city planning. As usual, it is beneficial to try to see through the eyes of a child.

Images: Hand-Made Play

Thank you, Kerala Taylor of Kaboom, who first wrote about Hand-Made Play.

Slow News Day: San Francisco Passes Ambitious Recycling & Sustainable Food Laws

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San Franciscans, you could be forgiven if you’ve been out playing in our unusually beautiful weather and missed a couple of developments that contribute to San Francisco being one of the greenest cities in the country.

Late last month, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced and signed the nation’s first mandatory composting law and what is probably its most comprehensive recycling law.

According to Mayor Newsom, San Francisco is already keeping 72 percent of recyclable material out of our landfill. The city has a Zero Waste goal.

The Huffington Post ran a very good piece on the program and the announcement.

The sfenvironment site is an excellent resource for information about the city’s green programs and ways you can be involved.

If that wasn’t enough, a few days ago, Mayor Newsom issued a multi-pronged Executive Directive that aims to get San Franciscans even closer to complete sustainability in the areas of producing and consuming local, nutritious food, and doing so in a way that limits the impact on the environment, while meeting the needs of the most vulnerable San Franciscans.

Mayor Newsom announced the Directive at Oakland’s non-profit City Slicker Farms, which itself was converted from a former junkyard. San Francisco’s plan calls for similar re-use of land.

The Civil Eats blog has this very thorough story.

Another piece on the Directive appears in the San Francisco Chronicle.

I’m sure lots of other cities are creating initiatives to promote greener, more sustainable practices. If you come across any Slow News in your city or town, please send it my way.

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