Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

How Kids Learn to Navigate the City (and the World), in Five Designs

Kiddicraft Interlocking Building Cubes, A Hilary Page Design, 1950. Chas Saunter,

I spoke to Amanda Kolson Hurley at CityLab about five designs for children discussed in my book: Kiddicraft, the Tripp Trapp chair, Crow Island School, Aldo Van Eyck’s playgrounds, and False Creek South in Vancouver.

In the era of Marie Kondo, the streamlining of our material lives still runs into one big obstacle: parenthood. “To have a child is to be thrown suddenly, and I found rather miraculously, back into the world of stuff,” writes design critic Alexandra Lange in her new book, The Design of Childhood. As Lange and countless other parents discover, you might use a baby-monitor app and have episodes of Peppa Pig on the iPad, but living with children means swimming in a sea of tactile objects—teething necklaces and strollers, play kitchens and board books.