Kid-Friendly TODs

Robert Cervero, Berkeley, CA

Transit-oriented developments (TODs) are presumed to cater to a unique demographic -- largely childless households, including young professionals and empty-nesters. The advantages of being in a compact, mixed-use setting well-served by rail transit are thought to accrue largely to such groups that seek access to jobs and cultural attractions in urban centers. This paper argues TODs in fact can be quite kid-friendly, based on experiences from four international rail-served residential projects: GWL Terrain in Amsterdam (a car-restricted complex); Vauban, Germany (car-restricted, "green TOD"), Hammarby Sjostad in Stockholm (eco-community), and Kogarah Town Center in Sydney. The replacement of interior parking with tot-lots, playgrounds, gardens, and communal spaces creates defensible spaces and healthy living environments. Superb rail access to nearby attractions engage kids and parents alike. A combination field observations, site designs, and interviews will be used to demonstrate that TODs are eminently conducive to kid-friendly active living.