The mark of a great neighbourhood -whether at home or abroad- is its kid- and dog-friendliness. In other words, great neighbourhoods offer something for all members of a family Kids, the elderly, and dogs are like canaries in the coal mine -the first to suffer in toxic and unnatural contexts. And as travellers, we recognize something universal when we watch families enjoy themselves.
We’ve just spent a few days in San Miguel de Allende where families mingle freely in the town square, known as El Jardin (the garden) for its lovely shade trees and numerous park benches. Abuelas (grandmothers) and mothers seem relaxed as they watch toddlers and ten-year olds running with toys on strings, or chasing after pigeons. Costumed animators provide another family-friendly distraction on weekends. And, of course, the balloon sellers are doing a brisk business.
Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some photo examples of this family-friendly town. From an urban design perspective, some of the most notable features are the wonderful nodes that draw people to the town centre, such as the main square (El Jardin), the large cathedral, and surrounding shops. These are places where people can spend money- or hold on to every cent they own. The town also shuts off the streets to vehicle traffic, and widens the range of closed streets on weekends. And, there are many places to sit comfortably in shade and in sun.