This story recently appeared in the winter 2012 edition of Harker Quarterly.
To remedy this problem in his Menlo Park neighborhood, Lanza made changes to his home to make it into a place where neighborhood children could play whenever they wanted, including a driveway that could be drawn on, a picnic table in the front yard, a whiteboard fixed to a fence and a playhouse where kids can write on the walls.
“We’re defacing everything we can,” Lanza said. “We want this place to look like kids live here. We want them to feel like they own this place.”
As a result, neighborhood children regularly engage with one another in outdoor activities, and families have come to know one another much better.