In that first episode they did a little test of independence - something that was common in previous generations. They asked the 10 children participating in the study to walk from their home to the closest corner store to buy an ice lolly. Only two of these children could successfully complete the task. The rest couldn't because of:
- fear of the unknown
- traffic preventing them from crossing roads
- the lack of any corner store within walking distance
If you missed it you can watch on Iview.
The next level of independence would be for them to walk to school on their own. There is just one road crossing an the route that is a cause for concern. Traffic flies around the corner and it is a hazard for children to cross. In Tokyo parents don't accompany their children on the walk to school. From prep the children walk themselves to school. Would this be possible in our Australian cities?
A nine year old may be a good auditor of the walkability of our neighbourhoods. If a young child can safely navigate their way on foot from home to the corner store or school I think it would be safe to say that we have a walkable neighbourhood. When designing our urban roads we should be designing with the needs of the local residents in mind (especially children), not the need to limit delay to the traffic passing through the suburbs.