"While the importance of children's access to their environment is well-known, there are alarming reports concerning "children's loss of independent mobility" due to increasing traffic. Parents' fear of traffic forces them to escort their children to school or to friends and consequently restricts the children's freedom. This means that children are deprived of the opportunity to move freely, to meet other people and to experience the environment on their own. Seven hundred fifty children in four differently-planned residential areas completed questionnaires about the way they travel, where they play, etc. A number of children and their parents were interviewed and the children pointed out the routes they took to school, to their friends and to their favourite places. This paper provides some results from this study, but also discusses the consequences of planning the physical environment in such a way that it prevents children from achieving "activity independence". If the environment is perceived as a barrier (physical as well as social) it will undoubtedly have negative effects on children's cognitive and social development as well as on socialization."