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We at Bunchland have to say we’re happy Lego still gets some play. We had buckets of the stuff back in our youth. These days, building huge towns out of the plastic blocks can have really impressive results like these. And did you know there are even theme parks devoted to it? Jennifer and Christian are gonna put on their imaginary construction hats and build a huge town using painted boxes, Playmobil and of course, Lego! But they’ll need a building plan before they proceed. Urban planner and author Tim Halbur is here to help.

  • CITY: Guelph, Ontario
  • OUR BUNCH: Jennifer. Christian, 6, Lego lover.

jen

For our March Break, we’re staying home, but we’re going to have lots of fun building a toy town, using Lego, Playmobil and boxes we’re going to paint and cut doors and windows into. Maybe we’ll take a train set we don’t use anymore and make a train go through the town. These are my starting ideas, but I’m sure my son will come up with lots more!

Guest Expert: Tim Halbur is the managing editor of Planetizen and author of Where Things Are, From Near to Far, a book about urban planning for kids. We imagine it’s no easy feat to take a subject like urban planning and make it kid-friendly, but Tim did it! Here he tells us how to design a green town with the happiest residents.

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1. Mix it up. For the last 50 years or so, city planners designed cities so that people lived over here, and businesses went over here, and jobs went over here, and the three things never mixed. Today, we’ve realized that when you mix everything up together it makes things a lot better. You can walk to the store when you need milk, people can bike or walk to their jobs, and people are happier and healthier.

2. Build trolleys. Trolleys, or streetcars, were the only way to travel back in 1920. Cities all around the world were full of them. They were fun to ride and made it easy to get around. We need more trolleys, partly because they get people out of their cars and help improve the environment. But mostly because they’re fun.

3. Skyscrapers are go! Recent studies show that cities when people live closer together in tall buildings are actually greener than living in one-story buildings in the suburbs or the country. So build skyscrapers in your city’s downtown, where they can benefit from being by other skyscrapers, but don’t build them in the country. As we say in Where Things Are, From Near to Far, “From the city to the country, every building has its place.”

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