Smart growth shopping: Choosing a city stroller

Yesterday, I (meaning my husband, 8 month-old son, and me) went stroller shopping. Somehow our physical space constraints and our commuting patterns seem to figure into just about everything we purchase – will it fit and can you walk with it?

In the case of a stroller we needed to consider: 1) how easily it collapses, and 2) how well it fits in the narrow entryway of our small condo and at the congested landing that doubles as stroller storage at our daycare center.

We needed to consider the cargo capacity at the bottom: will it help me haul a few groceries as well as a few baby supplies, phone, keys and wallet? At a minimum, I need to be able to do this, but really, I’m usually hauling around more than just the basics.

Also, whatever we chose needed to be lightweight and rugged enough to handle city streets and sidewalks on a daily basis–easy to maneuver with hardy wheels; a nice built-in canopy to protect my baby from the searing sun or pouring rain would also be a plus – especially since I never have that vinyl stroller cover when I need it.

baby in stroller
Baby Bewtra soaks up some culture in his new City Mini

The marketplace, broadly speaking, is geared towards lifestyles that include more square footage and less walking. Most
of the available strollers did not fit our criteria – too bulky to lug around or too wimpy for a daily trek over cobblestones. Un-ironically the stroller we chose is called a “City Mini.” Go figure.

As an employee of an agency that promotes smart growth and advocates for compact, transit-oriented, walkable communities, I feel I must be able to “walk the walk” if I’m going to be able to “talk the talk.”

Perhaps someday compact living will be as convenient and as easily attainable as sprawled out living. The convenience more square footage would offer is ever alluring, and staying compact is a decision made with every purchase.


-Manisha Gadia Bewtra, MAPC Senior Regional Planner
(and city-living new mom)