Play streets: women, children and the problem of urban traffic, 1930 – 1970

Cowman, Krista (2017) Play streets: women, children and the problem of urban traffic, 1930 – 1970. Social History, 42 (2). pp. 233-256. ISSN 0307-1022

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Abstract

This article explores women's participation in campaigns for urban play streets in England c.1930 - 1970. Concentrating on activities in 'traditional' terraced streets, it argues that working-class street sociability was strongly connected to children's play and that rising levels of traffic were beginning to threaten this before WW2, feeding growing anxieties over the high rate of road accidents to children. One response to this from the 1930s was a series of local experiments aimed at separating traffic from children (a radical alternative to the more usual response of keeping children away from traffic) through the creation of play streets, closed to vehicles for most of the day. The idea was taken up by national government and became popular in post-war decades, often due to the efforts of local women to defend the public life of their communities. the growing controversy over the introduction and maintenance of play streets from the 1960s shows women struggling to maintain traditional street sociability against the gathering power of business interests and rising car ownership in the period.

Keywords:Social History, Women, Quotidian activism, Road safety, Children, Play, Community activism
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V147 Modern History 1950-1999
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V140 Modern History
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V320 Social History
Divisions:College of Arts > School of History & Heritage > School of History & Heritage (History)
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ID Code:25422
Deposited On:20 Dec 2016 16:16

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