New Urbanism… for KIDS!

new urbanism gift guide for kids

New Urbanism Gift Guide… FOR KIDS!

Christmas is really about the children.  And so is New Urbanism!  Who benefits most from a dense built environment that’s safe for walking and biking? Kids who can’t drive and are worn out by long walks. (Especially boring walks through redundant “snout-house” neighborhoods.) Kids who’d benefit from extra eyes on the street watching out for them.

So many of us urbanists, tell conversion stories of growing up in the bland suburbs and then realizing how great the city can be.  Why make the next generation suffer through the same boring childhood?  Introduce the kids in your life to New Urbanism at an early age with these handy New Urbanism Gifts for Kids!  


Lego Set from Miracle Mile Toys and Games


Lego is the preeminent Christmas gift.  But why build starships, when you can build towns?  This Lego set that has a coffee shop and bicycle repair shop on the street level with residences on the second floor.

josh at mmtg

I found this Lego set at Miracle Mile Toys and Games which is a great neighborhood store not only do they have great Lego sets and other cool toys, they also hosted a parking day event in front of their store back in September!


click here to read more about parking day. 

Stress Bus from Metro


This squishy stress reliever is perfect for the everyday transit rider.  But also makes a fun, safe, soft bus for kids!  Or a great party favor for any new urbanism red carpet event.The metro store also has this adorable onesie for “future transit riders” the perfect outfit for baptizing your kids into New Urbanism. Onesie_Large_12-20-13



Kids Linus Bike from Flying Pigeon LA

linus kids bikelinuskids

We love Linus Bikes and we love their stylish kids bikes. Pick them up at Flying Pigeon in North East LA.  Or even better, take the kids for a ride in the minivan of bicycles, which is only available at Flying Pigeon LA. Great for hauling kids, groceries, or washing machines.


The owner of Flying Pigeon LA is a leading voice is the bicycle friendly streets movement in Los Angeles, he’s also the founder of group rides like NELA Kidicalmass and the Dim Sum Ride.  He spoke at our 2015 festival in Los Angeles about the positive role of activism in changing bike policy.



Where things are from near to far at Planetizen


A lot of New Urbanists are also avid readers. So we need a children’s book about the issue.  And while I personally have never doubted Andres Duany’s broad appeal, a book about urban planning specifically geared towards kids is a good starter. The author, Tim Halbur, spoke at our 2013 festival in Los Angeles.


Painting Lessons from Ann Bridges

Ann Bridges is a great painter and even greater teacher.  Sign up your kids for one of her on-going classes or take a one off class as a family. Ann will give you real art instruction (not this group painting lessons in bars stuff) and she has a great spirit of community. She also paints murals on signal boxes throughout Los Angeles! Check out her work next time you get on the Purple Line at Wilshire/Western.


Day at the Park


Sometimes the simplest gift is free time. And nothing is more free than a public park.  It may sound lame, but teaching your kids to appreciate civic resources is a big deal.  Make a day out of it! Go to the park, then take the bus to the library then take a tour of city hall.


Bike Ride Lessons

bicycle safety2Go to a bike class with your kids.  Learning together sets a great example for your kids and who couldn’t use a refresher course on bicycle safety, especially before teaching young ones?  The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition offers classes all over Los Angeles.  Check out their schedule and sign up to take classes.



We are a film festival after all, so why not recommend a few family-friendly films on New Urbanism?

You can always re-watch the classic “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” The sub plot is the destruction of the Los Angeles Red Car rail lines and the expansion of the freeway system and destruction of beloved unique communities. We screened it at the fest in 2013.

10 Buildings that changed America is a quick documentary that showcases impressive architecture across the U.S.  It’s probably for a bit older kids, but the perfect gift for a budding architect or urban planner. We screened several segments of this documentary as short films in our architecture films screening in 2013.

Saga City is an animated short about the health benefits of urban design.  It won Best of Fest at the 2013 New Urbanism Film F estival.   This movie really breaks down all aspects of New Urbanism.

But if you want something quick and easy, I’m sure kids of all ages will enjoy the simple pleasure of watching Casey Neistat crash his bike into anything and everything left in the bike lane.  Click here to watch:


I don’t know if kids really like squishy buses and bikes, but I’m betting they’ll like them more than they’ll like a partridge in a pear tree.

Happy Holidays!