Playful Sidewalks is part of Bring On Play's new Play Everywhere Initiative. BOP is implementing play elements in regions of the city where our youth regularly frequent. This program was designed to increase "playability" and promote walking, to give local artists the chance to display their artistic talents within the community and to add to current beautification efforts within the City of York.
Hopscotch Crosswalk, Baltimore, MD
As part of her goal to attract 10,000 young families back to the city, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is transforming existing infrastructure so it becomes more playful for kids.
In the Bromo Tower District, kids can hop and skip their way across streets thanks to a series of playful crosswalks, which have been turned into hopscotch lanes under the direction of the Mayor’s Office, Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts and the Department of Transportation.
Stairway Stories, New York, NY
Design That Moves You, aimed at combating obesity through public design interventions. Stairway Stories entices people to take the stairs, with snippets of a story adhered to ascending risers. Uljee and Seip tested their project at the High Line park, posting a sign on an elevator suggesting visitors make the two-flight climb. Those opting for exercise were rewarded with “a romantic and educational encounter between two angler fish.”
Lucerne Shines, Lucerne, Switzerland
To discourage residents from tossing their empty cups and wrappers on the streets and sidewalks, the city of Lucrene launched its “Lucerne Shines” program, which rolled out mazes, hopscotch boxes, and three point lines to make the act of trash disposal more fun. The project appeals to kids and is a great nostalgic throwback for adults alike.
Highlandtown ‘BUS’ stop, Baltimore, MD
Through Baltimore's new Transit - Creative Placemaking program, the project creates an opportunity for social dialogue and urban renewal through playful, letter-based art.
It is refreshing to see a familiar spot of "inevitable waiting" not transformed into a plastic mountain beer ad or used-gum repository, but rather a minimal and interesting art space. Undistracted by advertisements, fliers, or otherwise, the tripartite bus-stop sculpture becomes a "leisure space in the middle of the rhythm of the city." It is multifunctional, serving as a block to winter sleet, shade in the Chesapeake summer heat, and cover from autumn rains. Located in Highlandtown, a blue-collar neighborhood of Baltimore, the installation is a permanent tribute to the ability of art to rejuvenate the streetscape. It is also right next to project collaborator Creative Alliance, and follows Creative Alliance's mission to build community by bringing together diverse artists and audiences. But the letters are also well-mastered pieces of urban furniture. And these sculptures aren't just for kids; the S is specifically designed to allow reclining while waiting, and the B allows handicap-accessible shelter in inclement weather. More importantly, the installation allows for conversation, for an iconic point to meet people and interact as a community, following mmmm...'s success with their Meeting Bowls in New York's Times Square.
The Sandbox Project, Ottawa, Canada
As part of an IGNITE community partnership with the Toronto 2015 Games, the Pan Am Parapan Am GIANT Sandbox was a day of fun in the sun to raise awareness of the work of The Sandbox Project and its Collaborating Partners towards improving the health and wellbeing of Canada's young people.
78th Street Play Street, Queens, NY
This project addresses a critical need for more open space in Jackson Heights, Queens, which ranks second-to-last in available park space per resident of all the neighborhoods of New York City. The Jackson Heights Green Alliance (JHGA) has worked with the Department of Transportation over several years to close a one- block stretch of 78th Street off to cars in order to create a play space. At first, the street was closed only on odd weekends; then it was for whole summers. Now the city has agreed to close the block permanently. Overcoming neighbors’ and business’ fear of losing parking spaces, JHGA succeeded with an incremental approach that convinced residents that having more open space was worth the trade-offs.
Red Swing Project, Austin, TX
“We strive to positively impact under-utilized public spaces with simple red swings.” Such is the simple mission of the
Red Swing Project, an intervention started by a group of architecture students in Austin. The original red swing was made for $2 with a single piece of wood and retired rock climbing rope. Since, nearly 200 red swings have appeared around the globe, from Haiti to Poland, India to Brazil, on vacant lots, under highway overpasses, turning undervalued spaces into playgrounds and passersby into playmates. Open- source and replicable, the Red Swing Project website offers easy instructions on how to make and install the swings, urging people to take control of their environments.
ChainLink Green, Philadelphia, PA
chainlinkGREEN is a system of construction designed to realize urban gardens, shade canopies, parks, benches and other urban, social condensers using only materials common to an abandoned lot, including chainlink fencing, standard 90°, steel pipe, rubble, reclaimed lumber, and concrete debris. chainlinkGREEN’s distinct geometry and aesthetic is borne from three concerns: (a) to develop an efficient, 3-dimensional structural system using only the 90° angles common to chainlink fencing, (b) to realize a construction system that is simple to build without the aid of expensive tools or trained professionals, and (c) to offer an intensely elastic environment that is capable of accommodating the wide variety of programs, materials and uses needed by our urban environments. chainlinkGREEN’s lightweight, easily constructed structure, realized through a simple distortion of the common fence typology, offers great utility, elasticity, and beauty within a very simple palette – creating a work that is affordable, accessible and at home in most urban settings. From an environmental standpoint, the elasticity of chainlinkGREEN’s potential material and programmatic palette offers opportunities to create sustainable urban gardens, storm water retention systems and animal habitats using only discarded materials and sites.
Parklets, Park(ing) Day
Park(ing) Day is an international event that reclaims parking spots and transforms them into engaging, people-friendly public spaces for one day a year.
Park(ing) Day NYC is a New York City Streets Renaissance collaboration which supports the conversion of parking spots throughout New York City’s 5 boroughs into human-friendly places for a single day. These small, temporary public spaces provide a breath of relief from the auto-clogged reality of New York City, and aim to spark dialogue about our valuable public space and how we choose to use it.
Newark Kids Rock is an event to explore how youth can make a difference by turning their passions and talents into social action. The parklets were built as a part of a joint effort between the City of Newark, the global design firm Gensler, and countless hours volunteering on part of the local community. The team met over two consecutive weekends to paint, hammer, saw, and build! HIGHLIGHT PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
Come Out and Play Festival, NY, CA, PA
Transforming cities from concrete jungles into jungle gyms, the Come Out & Play Festival reclaims space through free, public street games. Annual weekend-long events in New York and San Francisco provide forums for new types of play and unusual interaction with fellow urbanites. As game designer and festival co-founder Greg Trefry lamented the “loss of a sense that we can play in public space,” he said the festival can also open up places that might otherwise feel regulated. Games range from dodgeball and large-scale Battleship to “psychogeographic experiments,” and largely attract an under-40, media-savvy crowd. In future, Trefry hopes to host games that encourage more spontaneous drop-in participation, and as always, he wants to bring playfulness back to the public realm.
21 Swings, Montreal, Canada
An exercise in musical cooperation 21 Balançoires (21 Swings) is a giant collective instrument, a game where together we achieve better things than individually.
When in motion, each swing triggers different notes, and when used all together, the swings create a musical composition in which certain melodies emerge only through cooperation.
Together with Luc-Alain Giraldeau, an animal behaviour professor from the Université du Québec à Montréal’s Science Faculty, we explored the concept of cooperation:
”Cooperation emerges when the behaviour of each individual depends on the decisions of the rest of the group: it’s a game where, from the start, you need to adjust to the actions of others.”
The result is a giant collective instrument that stimulates ownership of the space, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds, and creating a place for playing and hanging out in the middle of the city center.
BOULEvard Ball, Brussels, Belgium
The BOULEvard ball, developed by studio ON/OFF for last fall’s Kanal Playground Festival in Brussels, was based on the “tensegrity” principles of Buckminster Fuller. It uses compression to create alarge 4m tall boulder, made of plumbing pipes, that is tough enough to roll through the city! Through a series of workshops with locals, the ball was community-assembledthen dispatched on an urban expedition through the canal area of Brussels. Its mission was to create play in unexpected places, and it attracted both curiosity and participation as it rolled past resident’s windows.
Pop-up Swimming Pool New York, NY
New York real estate development company MacroSea designed and built these impromptu swimming pools, utilizing leftover dumpsters to create miniature urban oases, in the heat waves of 2009, 2010 and 2011. These "pop-up pools" foster conversations about sustainability, with re-use of both underutilized spaces and structures, and provide a public health outlet for those who do not have air conditioning.
Peak Experience, San Francisco, CA
Drawing from the nearly 53 hills that frame San Francisco’s most diverse and engaging neighborhoods, Peak Experience reconceives the hills of SF into a series of varying and undulating mounds that frame a mix of uses that promote the integration of play into traditional street models. Situated along the stretch of Embarcadero and Fremont, Peak Experience builds upon the recreational corridor of the waterfront to establish a strong identity for Market Street through the augmentation of the flexible sidewalk zone to create an active corridor that supports interactive discovery, play and community engagement. Responding to the lack of views of SF’s landscape and often static streetscape elements, Peak Experience proposes a soft and flexible sidewalk zone that seeks to introduce a malleable street typology that provide a platform for varying community experiences, while educating users of SF geography. DESGIN FIRM—MARKET STREET in SF
Los Trompos, Atlanta, GA
Contemporary Mexican designers HéctorEsrawe and Ignacio Cadena used flat nylon rope woven in a traditional Mexican style to make the carousels, which visitors can work together to spin. The High Museum is using the best possible medium–play– to “activate the outdoor space and engage visitors” and “explore how engagement with art and design can extend beyond the museum’s walls through dynamic installations”. It has so successful that there are plans to expand the installation into seven locations in Midtown Atlanta.
Walking School Bus
A walking school bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school or as formal as a well-planned walking route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers. Created by the National Center for Safe Routes to School in partnership with PedNet Coalition — a national leader in developing Walking School Bus programs — this training seeks to highlight important planning tips and strategies for planning a walking school bus program. Participants will gain an understanding of how to prepare, build momentum and launch a walking school bus program, including identifying community partners, and securing program funding.
Brec on the Geux, Baton Rouge, LA
"BREC on the Geaux" is BREC's latest adventure in bringing recreation and activities right to your doorstep! Now, with two imaginatively designed mobile recreation units, BREC on the Geaux is set to provide twice as much supervised activities and fun physical recreation experiences to children and adults of all ages and abilities throughout East Baton Rouge Parish
Scalable DIY Interventions
Image 1: Playground: A street sign and garbage bin are converted into a basketball net and backboard. This piece remained for 9 months.
Image 2: Musical Bike Racks: An urban intervention re-imagining the use of bike racks.
Image 3: Public Prompts- Inspiring public conversation starters. Meant to help break the ice with the stranger next to you when you’re riding public transit.
Image 4: Anti Stress for Free: Milan-based street artist Fra.Biancoshock creates playful "urban interventions" that are designed to disrupt the monotony of everyday life and to provide passersby with unconventional experiences. Using the urban jungle as his canvas, the mysterious artist creates site-specific installations that are at times humorous or startling, but always clever and imaginative.
Skipping Zone Only, WALK [YOUR CITY]
For most, the choice route to and from work (or anywhere, for that matter) is the fastest, most direct, or most familiar. Bent on breaking up the monotony of rote passage by introducing a little fun, Sierra Seip and Alison Uljee created Skipping Only Zones, with signs that riff off the standard pedestrian-crossing sign installed at various crosswalks, sidewalks, and pedestrian paths throughout New York City. The designers were heartened to see people follow their sign’s prompt, goofily skipping across streets or bonding with strangers over a funny, shared moment. Skipping Only Zones is part of Seip and Uljee’s larger project, Design That Moves You, a series of urban interventions that uses fun as a motivator for increased physical activity and social interaction.
What are you missing out on in your own city by sticking to your established routes each day, or driving instead of walking? Sometimes it’s easy to forget how close any number of interesting locations are to the places you visit on a regular basis, even by foot – and walking can be the best way to truly experience any given city. Walk [Your City] aims to encourage that kind of exploration with a combination of user-powered custom street signs and online tools.
Walls like the one above are perfect for kid-sized murals, and can also serve as interactive art exhibits. This chalk-board wall would serve to stimulate self expression and imagination by allowing kids to write or draw answers to rotating prompts.