In Orange Grove, Johannesburg, a shul shares its grounds with a church and school. Foot traffic is high, which fosters a sense of community. The neighbourhood is home to people from diverse socio-economic, ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds. But there are open manholes that can swallow children, shattered glass on the pavements and the trees lining the streets haven’t been trimmed for years. Washington DC city planner Eric Feldman says successful cities are planned with children in mind as this benefits entire communities. In an essay he writes: "My daughter’s map of the city is layered with micro-landmarks, and these seemingly utilitarian objects provide the physical cues that shape her understanding of her neighbourhood and, from her vantage point, give the urban environment its sense of place." In SA, there are many competing urban planning concerns. The first priority is addressing ruinous apartheid-era spatial planning by building low-cost housing close to economic hubs a...

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