Part 1: The peculiar nature of cities
Chapter 4: The use of sidewalks: assimilating children
Chapter 4, p 85
Without expectation, the children who left unwillingly came from a near-by housing project. And without exception again, those who left willingly came from the old “slum” streets near by. The mystery, Guggenheim found, was simplicity itself. The children returning to the project, with its generous playgrounds and lawns, ran a gauntlet of bullies who made them turn out their pockets or submit to a beating, sometimes both. ….The children going back to the old streets were safe from extortion, Guggenheim found. They had streets to select from, and they astutely chose the safest. “If anyone picked on them, there was always a storekeeper, they could run to or somebody to come to their aid”
The people of cities who have other jobs and duties, and who lack, too, the training needed, cannot volunteer as teachers, or registered nurses or libarians or museum guards or social workers. But at least they can, and on lively diversified sidewalks they do, supervise the incidential play of children and assimilate the children into city society. They do it in the course of carrying out their own pursuits.
Planners do no seem to realise how high a ratio of adults is needed to rear children at incidental play. Nor do they seem to understand that spaces and equipment do not rear children. These can be useful adjuncts, but only people rear children and assimilate them into civilized society.