I just came across this PBS documentary with the same name as my blog, which is named after the old Cat Stevens song. The documentary seems to conclude that farms and rural communities, as well as traditional city neighborhoods, fare the best at providing a good environment for children to grow, develop, and most importantly, play. Suburbs are a failed experiment.
Where Do the Children Play? is a one-hour documentary for public television that examines how restrictive patterns of sprawl, congestion, and endless suburban development across America are impacting children’s mental and physical health and development.
Using the adage that children represent 20 percent of the world’s population but 100 percent of its future, the film opens by examining differences between growing up today, with all its inherent obstacles and temptations, and childhood as it was lived 50 years ago.
To understand today’s children more acutely, the film team first visited Beaver Island where there are no McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Targets or Walmarts. There, children congregate by bike in the downtown area to play. All 85 students in grades one to twelve attend the only school on the island. Most use the computer as a tool for homework, but not for communication. And while they miss a lot of what their counterparts have on the mainland, Beaver Island children are keenly aware of nature and its importance to their lives and their well-being.