Family Friendly Communities
Family friendly communities are communities where families enjoy housing that is affordable, child care, parks to play in, quality schools, and safe neighborhoods.
Despite rapidly changing demographics that indicate a need for more choice, many communities are in fact restricting choice through plans and regulations that inhibit the flexibility necessary to create family-friendly environments. Restrictions in choice can take a variety of forms — lack of affordable housing, limited transit options, inaccessible recreation amenities — but the end result is the same: a city hostile to families.
Planners are uniquely positioned to move a community-building agenda forward that is truly family supportive through both the physical and social infrastructure.
Because of this unique role, APA collaborated with the Linking Economic Development and Child Care Project to engage planners in thinking critically about what makes a family friendly community, what's currently being done, and what opportunities are there to create more friendly communities.
Family-Friendly Communities Briefing
Prepared by the American Planning Association's Planning and Community Health Research Center as part of a collaborative project with Cornell University Linking Economic Development and Child Care Project, with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Peppercorn Foundation, these briefing papers will assist planners in creating family-friendly communities.
Planners are concerned with the health of their municipalities and regions, and regularly confront issues that affect families. However, the vast majority of planners do not consider children in comprehensive plans. In a society that is increasingly concerned with environmental sustainability because of its effects on future generations, shouldn't we, as planners, also be concerned with planning communities for people from childhood to old age?
APA, in collaboration with Cornell University, conducted a survey in spring 2008 to assess attitudes about and barriers to creating family friendly communities, as well as current planning practice. The survey was answered by more than 900 planners from across the country and showed that planners are remarkably positive about the importance of families to communities and the role planners can play in designing communities that better meet families' needs. This PAS Memo describes the results of that survey.