The state of our streets matter. They are where we live and can affect our well being and sense of community, and enable or discourage healthy activity. Our streets were never just for travelling through and parking on.
The growth of street parties in the city has got us known as the country’s ‘street party capital’ due to the great number taking place each year. In my street the excitement’s building up as neighbours have just started us planning our annual street party. It’s the one time of year when most of us spend time together as a local community: talking, eating shared food, playing games, enjoying peace and quiet from the usual traffic, some music, and letting the children (of all ages!) enjoy the space outside our doors. From 10am to midnight it’s a pleasure to be in the street!
And complementing that is the growth of Playing Out, an arrangement allowing a regular, temporary road closure, that allows children to play in the street supervised by parents. These have proved very popular in some street in Redland, and people I’ve been talking to across the ward have remarked on how valuable they are in this age when children rarely seem to be allowed to stray far from their parents. More on Playing Out here: http://playingout.net/
Play streets and public space have such a vital social role in our community that we need to value these brief times when we’re not separated by traffic.
Street Parties for all!
Thanks to Sustainable Redland, a group I’ve been glad to take part in over the years, we have our own package of support in the neighbourhood
See: http://www.sustainableredland.org.uk/activities/bs6-open-streets/ for the background, and to get advice and organise a street party see: http://bs6openstreets.wordpress.com/
This informal and semi formal play is a vital part of our quality of life. Having arrived in Bristol many years ago to work for popular local charity Childrens’ Scrapstore, I’ve never fogotten the combined, creative value of reuse and recycling of interesting materials – usually in unforseen, imaginative ways – through this play resouce centre, and enjoying the freedom to play!