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By Radzini Oledan

Slice of Life

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

MORE urban parks than malls, please.

Public investment on urban parks will ensure access to green spaces and natural landscapes. It articulates government commitment to enable every child to have play opportunities, and the right to quality life.

Parks are spaces where people can be on equal terms, to interact and bond. It is also a venue to create and be themselves. Experts argue that being surrounded by parks increases self efficacy and satisfaction among young people with their environment.

The lack of recreational spaces for young people reflects the absence of children centered policy and understanding of their actual needs.

Where most of the populace lack much in terms of amenities, it is more effective to distribute quality of life through public goods such as parks. They are not mere luxuries nor tourism spots but critical to any city's competitiveness.

Parks can provide wonderful opportunities for children of all ages to build the skills and strengths they need to lead full and rewarding lives. The latest thinking about youth development makes a powerful case that children and adolescents are best served by a constellation of community-based activities that helps them build essential skills, knowledge, and aptitudes.

These ties often labeled "social capital" represent subtle but important assets for a community. They provide avenues through which information, values, and social expectations flow, and they empower people to tackle community-wide problems, advocate and embark on collective actions.

While at it, let us also support the call for the establishment of bike lanes in selected streets of the city. It is not only an antidote to congestion and pollution but also a flexible, convenient and even cheaper mode of transportation.

With too many vehicles vying for too little space, it would be best to put the system in place to allow alternatives. On road bicycle routes can provide residents and also tourists with an ecologically sound alternative for recreational and traveling purposes. Even in the smallest of communities, bicycle tourists can become important customers for eateries and other service providers. Three years after the passage of the bike ordinance, it would augur well for the local government to start designating the routes and undertake public education.

There are viable alternatives. The plus side? Investing in the intangibles always lead to a more constructive and peaceful communities.


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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 10, 2013.


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