In this Daily: How Towns Can be Built for Kids and Families
One of the primary goals when building the walkable town of Las Catalinas was to create a place where children could experience freedom.
Aside from the rich natural world to explore, many places in town have been considered carefully to accommodate both children and adults, resulting in squares, plazas, and walkways that provide something for the younger members of the family to discover.
Three Spaces for Kids in Las Catalinas
Calle La Ronda is very flat as it passes Wake, D’Aqui, and LaPula before reaching Casa Mar y Sol, 9 Calle La Ronda, and 5 Calle La Ronda. At this spot, the curve in the road and the elevated plaza above creates a miniature arena that provides four walls for impromptu street football games. Combined with the fact that many full time families live on Calle La Ronda, many afternoons throughout the year this space comes alive as the students return from school.
Plaza Lucia has a rounded shape, shade provided by the ceiba tree at the Plaza’s center, and smooth concentric bricks that suit bare feet and easy riding, making it a perfect place for kids to learn to ride bikes. The sloped path from Plaza Central deposits here as well, providing a spot where older kids often gain speed before weaving among the planters at the Plaza’s edge in a big circuit.
Paseo de Los Niños is a shared alley behind many of the homes on both Calle La Ronda and Paseo del Mar. Winding along between two of town’s major streets, Paseo de Los Niños is a slightly smaller space marked by hidden pathways through greenery, corner stairs climbing curling up around the sides of houses, homes built wall-to-wall that create a single cohesive space, and terminates in Plaza Escondida. This is an intentional addition to the neighborhood that feels personal to the homes that abut onto it, providing a versatile backyard space for kids to meet, play games, and explore.
Around Town and Beyond
When a town is built around walkability and thoughtful detail, it naturally creates spaces for kids to explore and play in. Without cars, these places are safe and welcoming, and the close relationships between residents, guests, and visitors means that there are always familiar faces throughout town. Add in the walking distance access to the beach and the trails, and you have a town where kids can set out to explore all day on friendly pedestrian streets and the nature that surrounds them.
While visiting on vacation, settling in for a longer stay, or living full time in town, this environment means that kids can explore, play, and make new friends, while parents have some freedom of their own knowing kids are happy and safe.