Great minds from Plato to Piaget have recognized the importance of play in healthy child development, but with bullying becoming more prevalent on school playgrounds and increased pressure to maximize school hours to boost performance on standardized tests, schools are struggling to implement meaningful recess. Playworks and other similar non-profit groups provide coaching for adults on how to help structure children's playtime to be healthy, productive, and enjoyable, while allowing children to explore on their own and develop positive relationships.Read More
Citizens in Cairo have been working to make the streets cleaner in an effort to create more pride for the country and get the government's attention. From picking up trash and painting lampposts to collecting donations from passersby, the community is working together to make a new Egypt.Read More
A Dallas urban neighborhood was dilapidated with abandoned storefronts and offered no vitality for pedestrians. A group of artists and community members created Build a Better Block, in which local artisans and small businesses took over a vacant block and transformed it for a limited time to encourage the ingredients for more permanent urban renewal.Read More
Alleys in Seattle were once places of illicit, illegal, and unsanitary activity. The International Sustainability Institute in Seattle began organizing music and art events to bring in people, which, in turn, cleaned-up the crime and garbage. As an urban development strategy, adjacent vacant storefronts re-opened for business and beautification could be seen in new gardens.Read More
Although residents turn up their air conditioners, Louisville heat is increasing the city’s death rate by 39 people every year. The city mayor launched a tree commission for planting more trees and since 2011 has planted over 12,000 trees. The canopies from the tree offer cooling shade and bring down the temperature of the city as a whole. The response also includes the installation of green roofs and in-depth research on urban heat islands.Read More
The Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas suffered from recession-closed businesses and crime. Then community members used placemaking, in which people shaped their own environment to improve the quality of life, and the concept of Build a Better Block, which was a pop-up event showcasing art, food, music, and local faire. The idea gives citizens a fresh look at the possibilities through which to transform the space in which they live, and it has attracted attention across the country and around the world.Read More
In Fayetteville, the Mayor and Police Chief have taken a personalized approach in seeking a solution for blighted, low-income neighborhoods and are working to increase the number of city staff on-hand to help address issues like decrepit buildings, as well as decrease the disparity in resources allocated to maintaining these neighborhoods. But many challenges remain, and the line between the government's role versus the private homeowner's responsibility remains difficult to define.Read More
Despite strong evidence that school-based physical activity improves children’s cognitive skills, concentration, and behavior, schools under pressure to produce quantitative results and decrease bullying have drastically cut back on recess in recent years. An Oakland-based nonprofit organization called Playworks is working to make healthy play accessible for more children and show schools how productive recess can be to the whole academic world.Read More
Researchers set out to measure the efficacy of a program called Becoming a Man, which seems to be proving that, for all the billions of dollars spent on complicated anti-crime programs, something as simple and cheap as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy seems more effective in reducing crime (and, not unrelated, keeping teenagers in school).Read More
In Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood, an organization called Save Our Streets Crown Heights (S.O.S.) is taking steps to disrupt violence. The organization is modeled after Chicago's violence interrupters, which employ people from the neighborhood to connect with those most at-risk and disrupt conflicts and retalitory violence.Read More
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