On a blistery, cold but sunny morning in Brooklyn, Future Planners organized a Walk & Talk Tour™ for a group of children (and their parents). These energized kids took to the streets to voice their thoughts on the cityscape that surrounds them daily. From two to seven years old, they shared their thoughts on what they like and dislike along Atlantic Avenue, a street that three centuries ago started as a dirt road which lead to the Patchen Farm located, along the East River. Fast toward to today and Atlantic Ave is one of the most important arteries of the Brooklyn borough.
For some this was a new experience, others were veterans of previous Future Planners events and enrichment classes for kids. What they all had in common was enthusiasm and a forthright conviction on their ideas about how they experience their community. Suggestions ranged from updating bus shelter benches to become user-friendly for the homeless, to using bike racks as jungle gyms. Their suggestions fluctuated from fun and frivolous, to politically sensitive.
Having children lead adults, sharing their passion for what they see, feel and experience instills an awareness that as young city-zens their voices matter. Small yet powerful events such as these are an important step in creating a sense of civic participation, making our cities more sustainable for all generations.