|Photo by Aarwen Abendstern via Flickr CC|
Today I was at a café on my lunch break and saw one of my favourite things. A man in a business suit was having lunch with his daughter, who was about 7 years old. She was sitting very tall and straight in her chair with her croissant and milkshake and both she and her dad were enjoying themselves immensely.
I love seeing children in the city. I love the way wait-staff smile at them and other customers smile knowingly at the parent and each other. I love how the kids feel special and excited to be visiting Mum or Dad in The City.
You may disagree if you are trying to hurry down a busy footpath to a work meeting and have to weave around assorted prams and toddling youngsters on the way, but children breathe life into the CBD and in fact everywhere they turn up.
|Photo by Lievensoete at Flickr CC|
A little while ago I read an article about the Docklands precinct in Melbourne – I can’t remember the source, but it was about planners and councils wanting to encourage families to live in the city, because children bring life and growth to residential areas. And when you think about it, a residential area without children – while blessedly quiet – must be fairly stagnant. The exception might be the small vibrant enclaves devoted to nightlife, but these are usually tiny parts of a bigger area, with very few residences anyway.
Of course I don’t think children belong everywhere. I have no problem with some restaurants having child-free policies because there are places where it’s hard for kids to sit still for long, people have paid a lot of money to relax and enjoy their dinner, and they rightly expect to do so in a certain ambience.
But cities are made for vibrancy, variety and humanity. They’re not just for suits, or students, or hipsters, or anyone in particular. They’re for everyone.
|Photo by Infomatique at Flickr CC|
Last school holidays during my husband’s week minding the kids (we take turns), he brought them in to meet me one day for lunch. The kids dressed up in their favourite dresses, and were pleased as punch. And it absolutely made my day. I thrilled with pride as the cafe staff smiled at us all, we had a lovely sandwich lunch, and I beamed like an idiot all the way back to my desk.
What do you think? Do kids belong in the CBD?