How Children Demanding Play Streets Changed Amsterdam
The documentary examines the conditions in a dense urban neighborhood called De Pijp, from the perspective of local children. In the film, neighborhood kids energetically advocate for a play street, free of cars.
Bicycle Dutch recently shortened the episode and added English subtitles. The documentary originally aired in 1972. That very same year, several play streets were installed in the city. In the 1970s, traffic fatality rates in the Netherlands were 20 percent higher than in the United States, but thanks to grassroots efforts like the play street campaign in De Pijp and the “Stop de Kindermoord” movement (“Kindermoord” translates to “child murder”), the Dutch changed their approach to street design. Today the traffic fatality rate in the Netherlands is 60 percent lower than in the U.S. — 22,000 fewer Americans would die each year if we had kept pace with the Dutch.
Here’s a look at one of those play streets in De Pijp today — a stark contrast from the streets pictured in the video: