Open Streets Cape Town: Open Streets builds community resilience by encouraging play and family fun

Open Streets Cape Town: Open Streets builds community resilience by encouraging play and family fun

Open Streets Days are family days and so usually take place on a Sunday. On 25 March, residents of Cape Town will have a chance to join in the car-free fun!

We’re often told that kids should never play in the streets. But if anyone familiar with the Open Streets Movement, will know that safe and fun streets are not only possible, they are becoming a reality in more and more cities across the world. What is most powerful, children are the ones who show us all how to enjoy the space!

It can be a tough sell, though, considering children playing outside has become almost taboo in our society, which tells us – rightfully – that our streets aren’t safe. But the joy of play is palpable at every Open Streets Day, which provides a risk-reduced environment free of cars. Our hope is that one day more of our streets will be this way by default.

To see the kids run up and down without fearing cars is priceless. For many parents, an Open Streets Day is even a reminder of their own formative years, when cars weren’t as pervasive and streets were also places of recreation.

On Sunday 25 March, residents of Mitchells Plain, a township of Cape Town will have the opportunity to move around freely with their family and neighbours without worrying about cars.

There will also be several activities for families and children including free bicycle rides for young kids, a reading corner, mathematics activities, a marimba jam, dance, street soccer and cricket, chess, magic tricks, drama classes, swings, a kiddies fun area, the Cool Kid on a Bike Safety Training and a mouth painting competition, to name just a few.

Playing is fundamental to a child’s development. Engaging in physical activity with friends at a young age allows us to explore and teaches us valuable social skills. This kind of experiential learning has always been at the heart of Open Streets in Cape Town. For us, it’s about showing people of all ages there’s another way when it comes to using streets.

We believe streets should provide choice in how we move around the city and be places for social interaction. The most powerful way to influence the future is to engage people when they’re young. Likewise, growing the Open Streets movement relies largely on having the new generation lead the way. It may inspire them to grow up to demand more equitable streets.

Article by Open Streets Cape Town
Photo credits: Ference Isaacs