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Happy City from a Dutch perspective
Dear Mister Montgomery,
My name is Gerben Helleman and I'm an urban geographer from The Netherlands. This summer I finally had the time to read your book 'Happy City'. Admittedly, a bit late, but my jobs, blog and six years old daughter kept me 'occupied'.

I really enjoyed reading your book. It is a great summary of all the movements in the last decades in urbanism, architecture, planning and design. With all the inspiring things you read on social media and websites abou…

Playable cities: summary
Children's daily lives are affected mostly by decisions made by parents, teachers and urban planners. Together they influence where, how and how long children play. In recent years, children's outdoor play has declined. For health and pedagogical reasons, it is important that we stimulate outdoor playing. To realize this we need a new approach on public spaces for kids. This approach doesn't start with picking some elements from catalogues of play equipment companies or landscape a…

Playable cities: Why?
When we think about child-friendly public spaces, we usually start with the wrong questions. We tend to focus on the question which playing attributes we should add to existing playgrounds, but we should start at the other end of the spectrum with the question: what is our ultimate goal? In short, the purpose is to stimulate outside playing for children, because it improves their health, it enriches different skills and most of all it gives them pleasure.

Playable cities: How?
In the previous chapter we learned WHY it is important to make child friendly cities. Now we can use these reasons to identity the conditions to realize playable cities. Based on an extensive literature study I come to ten main criteria. Principal factors that influence where, how and how long children play. Ingredients for policies, design and programs to stimulate outdoor activities. The principles that differentiate 'normal' cities from playable cities and that make a place work.

Playable cities: What?
Now that we know the reasons (WHY) and conditions (HOW) for playable cities we can zoom in on the specific actions that we can undertake to create vibrant places. The underlying goals and criteria for child-friendly spaces help us to remember that we have to operate on multiple levels. In this chapter you will find a lot of actions and efforts that can make a difference if you want to create safe, entertaining and enriching learning spaces for kids.

Playable cities: sources
The model and the chapters for 'Playable cities' are based on an extensive desk research of international literature and websites about public spaces (for kids). Using the work of for example, Mikael Colville-Andersen, Jan Gehl (Making Cities for People; Gehl Institute), Tim Gill, Jane Jacobs, Kaboom!, Kevin Lynch, Project for Public Spaces (PPS), The Bernard van Leer Foundation (Urban95), The City at Eyelevel, and William H. Whyte. But also using the results from scientific research…

The Open City
Nowadays we make cities to much as a closed system: segregated, regimented, and controlled. Instead of this 'Closed City' we need an 'Open City' where citizens actively hash out their differences and planners experiment with urban forms that make it easier for residents to cope. This is the main message of urban sociologist Richard Sennett in his new book 'Building and Dwelling' that came out last month. Yesterday he gave an inspiring lecture at the Rotterdam Academy of …