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Streetnotes is a peer-reviewed journal for the interdisciplinary study of the city, its lifeways and social relations, with a special concern for the cultural and aesthetic forms that arise through its traffic.

City Kids

Issue cover
In this issue contributors address the relationship between childhood and the city.


Introduction: City Kids

Introduction to special issue of Streetnotes: City Kids

City Kids

There are few spaces in cities designed exclusively for children, ones that open up to a world of few responsibilities and embrace the indeterminacy of youth. Parks and playgrounds and private places of learning are the islands on which children are prioritized, but they are surrounded by the waters of adult life.

The images in this series shows children in and out of the city, in the small worlds constructed for them and in transit between these spaces.

Block Party

The work in the attachment includes the visual art of Daryl Gannon and the literary work of Van G. Garrett.

Taking on the City: one Mom at a Time

These three poems express the challenges of an urban mom to see the city despite, and through, her kids' perspective.

On Lines, Place-making and Children’s Play. An Exploration of Street Life in the Netherlands

In this essay the author explores the diverse ways in which children are creating places for play in the streets of the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. More specifically, the focus of the essay is on the lines that children actively draw in place-making for play and on the meaning of lines that have been drawn for them as part of the design of playgrounds in streets. The written and visual observations about children, places and lines are the result of ethnographic inquiry.


  • 8 supplemental images

Street Life of Children in 20th Century New York

This article explains how and why over the course of the 20th century the streetlife of children in New York City disappeared. It draws on the very rich resources of memoir and fiction to understand what happened and, in doing so, it comes to understand the importance of street life in stirring the literary imagination.

Recollecting Perestroika: Notes from the Playgrounds of Ukraine (1986–1993)

Political crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine’s urban centers churns with an iconography carved against itself, the scars of a turbulent history unevenly distributed across space and time. But not only region and language are pitted against each other in Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv and elsewhere, but generations, separated from each other by the relative movement of historical forces. Perestroika, Gorbachev’s ambitious attempt to restructure the Soviet political economy, stands out as a point of such generational contradiction in Ukraine. Many adults experienced perestroika as an opportunity to push for national independence (and a long awaited political victory). For the children of the 1980s, however, the insecurity and tumult of this period, intensified by the catastrophe at Chernobyl, are reflected in recollections of a more intimate independence, the boundaries of which are demarcated not by political ideology but by the gazes of strangers and the absence of parents. Through these years, many children witnessed events inexplicable even to the adults around them: rising unemployment, fear of radiation fallout, shortages of food and other basic supplies, friends lost to emigration, heroin or disease. Yet for children entering the social world for the first time, what is inexplicable tends to be pushed to the edges of experience, which remains driven by the pursuit of friendship, excitement and belonging.