Returning children to the core of the town: challenging conventional daycare design
The migration of families and businesses out of the urban core has been as detrimental to American small towns as American cities. Architectural solutions to blighted small towns focus on economic revival, street design, residential development, but rarely connect children with the town core. This link is crucial. For towns to prosper rather than die from neglect, the next generation needs to personally connect with their town and absorb the world outside home and school through real life experience. How can architects revitalize the core of a small town so that it connects harmoniously with children? This investigation explores how children benefit from a healthy town core, and how children, in turn, improve the social and economic life of a town core. These relationships disappear in a town core that is deprived of population and businesses, such as Middletown, Ohio, the primary case study in this research. The work of urbanists, as well as personal experience shows that the town core is safer at a greater density, and designed to balance cars and pedestrians. Designing for children is critical to achieving density, high pedestrian traffic, and livable neighborhoods. Therefore, children are vital to the revival of a town core, for a town core without children is simply incomplete and ultimately unsustainable.