The Ice Lolly Test of a Well Designed Neighbourhood #NPPF

The ‘Ice Lolly Test, or the’popsicle test’ as our American Cousins call it is a test used by quite a lot of New Urbanists in the States as a test of a well designed neighbourhood. Noone is quite sure where it came from but heres a good statement of it.

Popsicle test? It’s this…is it possible for an 8-year-old to buy a Popsicle on his or her own and return before it has completely melted? If so, chances are it’ll be a good place to live.

How so?

Well, first of all, if a kid can get around on his own, that means the streets must be pretty safe. There are probably sidewalks or wide shoulders to walk on – things that benefit all pedestrians. And the intersections must not pose a big threat, either. There are probably stop signs, or the traffic lights are red long enough for a dawdler to make it all the way from one side to the other. ….

Then, too, if a third-grader can hoof it to the store, that probably means that the stores aren’t so far away from the houses that shopping requires a car.

The freedoms that this creates for parents and kids alike has led to the Free Range Kids Movement and the idea of a playborhood.

Scott Doyon asks what kind of adults you produce when you dont have this kind of environment and instead you have helicopter parents who never let their kids outside, adults

whose every whim has been accommodated, every move scripted, every moment scheduled, every unpredictability or challenge sidestepped, and every decision made for them. [universities] term for them? “Teacups, because they’re so fragile that they break down anytime things don’t go their way.”

I riase this because it struck me – what’s in it the NPPF for kids, what in it for my own daughter. Indirectly lots, and lots of stuff about school – hiss boo – but from the centre of a childs simple and wonderful priorities its all about the ‘grown up’ obsessions with making money, driving and living in a big house.

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One thought on “The Ice Lolly Test of a Well Designed Neighbourhood #NPPF

  1. This is a variation on the “pint of milk test” which I proposed and Geoff Marsh popularised more than ten years ago to assess whether a location had good access to a local shop where you could get a pint of milk.

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