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How low level traffic can turn a street into a play space
I was on Vyner Street one Sunday afternoon with my Dad. It's a shortish road tucked away between Viccy Park, the canal, and the south end of Mare Street. We'd gone to see some art galleries and were sitting outside a proper old east end pub, in the cold, having a drink.
A group of children went past, on bikes and foot, shouting, chatting and generally 'going around' like I did when I was little. The road doesn't really lead anywhere so there's not much traffic. There were no adults there, the children were playing and generally having a good time and they looked happy. There were boys and girls from different backgrounds, of different ages. No money had been put into this, no adults had organised or designed it and nobody was health-and-safety checking, monitoring, or watching (apart from me!).
What had made this happen was a street with very little/slow-moving traffic, and parents who let their children play out with trusted neighbours and friends. I was reminded of roaming with friends in Camden when I was little, when going those few streets further was so exciting and the journey was a measure of growing independence and confidence. I'm a Play Champion because I notice, record and share occurrences like this, then use the stories to help people who I work with understand why play and playing out is so important.