The 7 Senses Street Day is a national series of events held in every state on Saturday, 16 November 2013, in an effort to demonstrate that our streets should be more than traffic channels; they should be places that engage our 7 senses and in doing so create healthier and happier neighbourhoods that include people of all abilities and wellness, and cultivate activity and play.
A new national day of action, 7 Senses Street Day is inspiring residents around Australia to challenge local councils to rethink our residential street design and champion safer, more playful and inclusive neighbourhoods.
The Street Day initiative is being driven by our Project Development Manager, Tobias Volbert and Ms Linda Cupitt, who wanted to address the lack of opportunity for their own children to play safely in the street, and in reaction to the barren design of our streets that leaves residents feeling isolated. The idea came out of our submission to Building Trust International’s competition
“Our residential streets are now traffic channels – 75 per cent of the space between my front fence and the neighbour’s fence across the street is dedicated to the car.” Mr Volbert explained.
“I want to change this ratio. I want a street where my young kids can ride their bike safely and my neighbours can gather in the street as a community.”
For co-founder and community development specialist, Ms Linda Cupitt, the issue of creating inclusive neighbourhoods was a prominent motivator following her recent work in the Autism and mental health sectors.
“Disability impacts the entire family – socially and economically – but there are 100 small changes we could make to our streets that would allow these families to feel less isolated. Our built environment design and planning needs to shift past using terms like ‘accessibility’ and ‘inclusive design’ as add-ons and this shift needs to happen sooner than later.” Ms Cupitt stated.
The duo recognize that a concept for more engaging and playful streets isn’t new but believe that designs that consider each of our seven human senses provides a simple framework for ensuring engaging, active and inclusive places.
“Our slogan is ‘Bringing the common sense back to our neighbourhood’ because a lot of what we are calling for is just plain common sense and a return to what used to standard qualities of neighbourhoods. But somewhere we lost the way.” Mr Volbert said.
The 7 Senses Street Day is open to any parent or resident who wants to make a difference in their street. Information on how to get involved can be found on the website.