THE NEW URBAN FAMILY BRINGING UP HAPPY, HEALTHY KIDS IN MULTI-FAMILY COMMUNITIES by STEPHANIE MACDONALD In many places, raising your family in an apartment is pretty much a given. Highly livable urban environments like Hong Kong, New York and Paris have many larger apartments where families live and thrive. Metro Vancouver, being newer, is a bit behind the curve. But good urban planning is providing more places for families to fit into the urban environment, because cities benefit from families, and, it turns out, there are lots of benefits to raising children in an urban milieu as well. In terms of the environment, concentrating human activities in one place significantly reduces our carbon footprint, and encouraging people to live downtown reduces pollution, lowers energy consumption and counteracts urban sprawl. 32 New Home + Condo Guide | Feb. 20–Mar. 6, 2021
As families are less mobile than single professionals, they contribute to tight-knit, stable social environments and networks. Families are proven to be more likely to be involved in civic matters, and importantly, most of the things that benefit children also benefit the community as a whole: green space, parks, effective transit, pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, and so on. Kids in the city get increased exposure to diverse situations, cultures and a sense of place. They get to spend additional time with their parents, who spend less time commuting. Social integration, a variety of interesting settings, peer meeting places, cohesive community identity and green areas all make for an enriching environment for kids to grow up in.