Playful cities promote play, leisure, and creativity in their public spaces and architecture. It offers opportunities for gatherings that help develop communities socially and culturally, improving the quality of life and providing essential elements for healthier and more balanced habits. They directly influence citizens' cognitive and emotional development by stimulating creativity and imagination through spaces designed for fun.
playground: The Latest Architecture and News
Last week, the Global Designing Cities Initiative (GDCI) released Designing Streets for Kids to set a new global baseline for designing urban streets. Designing Streets for Kids builds upon the approach of putting people first, with a focus on the specific needs of babies, children, and their caregivers as pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users in urban streets around the world.
Basel-based HHF Architects have been invited to exhibit at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia as part of the "How Will We Play Together?" exhibition. Titled "The Playful Eight", the 8-piece installation extends the biennale's brief to adults, and gives visitors "unsolicited elements that offer the possibility to escape control and productivity in order to play together".
Completed in 2020, amidst the pandemic, ANOHA- The Children’s World designed by Olson Kundig for the Jewish Museum in Berlin is finally opening its doors to the young public. The design reinterprets the myth of Noah’s Ark and furthers the concept and ideas of a similar installation at Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, created by the firm then named Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen. More than a museum experience, the project is a space for community building, a place for imagination and play that enacts a universal story, creating an inclusive environment for children and families of all cultures and backgrounds.
Alterity is essential to human development. If deprived of a variety of stimuli, the brain is unable to develop, losing plasticity and deteriorating like an atrophied muscle. This reasoning is widely accepted when it comes to social relations or cognitive and physical activities. But what about the stimuli promoted by the built environment?
The parking house, entitled Parking House + Konditaget Lüders, has just won the international design award Danish Design Award 2020 in the category of “Liveable Cities”. Designed by JAJA Architects, the intervention refurbished the roof of a parking house into living urban space with sports and play equipment.
Throughout human history, the movement of populations–in search of food, shelter, or better economic opportunities–has been the norm rather than the exception. Today, however, the world is witnessing unprecedented levels of displacement. The United Nations reports that 68.5 million people are currently displaced from their homes; this includes nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of eighteen. With conflicts raging on in countries like Syria and Myanmar, and climate change set to lead to increased sea levels and crop failures, the crisis is increasingly being recognised as one of the foundational challenges of the twenty-first century.
While emergency housing has dominated the discourse surrounding displacement in the architecture industry, it is critical for architects and planners to study and respond to the socio-cultural ramifications of population movements. How do we build cities that are adaptive to the holistic needs of fluid populations? How do we ensure that our communities absorb refugees and migrants into their local social fabric?
This World Refugee Day, let’s take a look at 5 shining examples of social infrastructure from around the world–schools, hospitals, and community spaces–that are specifically directed at serving displaced populations.
Although we know how important it is to allow children to play in public and outdoor spaces, it is difficult to deny that there are few cities offering adequate prepared environments for children - fun and safe spaces that allow them to experience urbanity and become conscious citizens of community life. For this reason, it is also understandable that families have increasingly instituted leisure spaces in indoor environments, giving their children the freedom and security necessary to learn and grow.
In this article, we have selected 11 incredible examples that demonstrate how interior architecture can help create play spaces for kids of all ages, helping them take their first steps in this world with greater autonomy and confidence.