I've just been reading this article about how children are loosing touch with nature, something called 'Nature Deficit Disorder.' A lack of safe green spaces and a 'cotton-wool culture' means British parents aren't letting their kids play outside like they used to. In the National Trust's Natural Childhood Report it has been found that parents are so worried by stranger danger and traffic that their children are stuck indoors (probably in front of tellies and computer screens), and that this lack of outdoor play can stunt a child's social, mental and physical development which can then lead to problems in later life.
I think this is a very important issue for landscape architects to think about.
I was very lucky in that I had an amazing childhood. Living in the country meant that nature was always all around. In fact now I live in Manchester I find I barely notice the changing seasons like I do at home. We have a garden at home; not that big but big enough when you're small. It's always been a bit overgrown and has far too many trees to fit in the space. There was one area we called 'the jungle' because it used to be full of tall shrubs that you could hide in, and at the weekends we used to go for long walks in the fens. I'm sure my childhood would have been very different if I'd grown up in a terraced house with a tiny concrete back yard like the one I'm living in now. There's a park nearby but it wouldn't have been practical for my parents to watch over me all the time to make sure I was safe.
Anyway so I've done a little brain storm about how landscape architects (and architects, and communities) can encourage nature back in to childhood: