Evoking P layfulness in Public Space
I’ve always been fascinated by the vigorous force that drives children
to explore and interact with the world around them. Playing comes by nature to children, as an instinctive curiosity fortesting their surroundings for its potential usefulness. Playfulness forms a driving force forcreativity, social cohesion and learning
. Yet, somewhere in ‘growing up’ we tend to lose touch with our playfulness. The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said : ‘We don’t stopplaying because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.’
Ultimately, play leads to the seemingly useless emotional pleasure of sheer joy. This uselessnesscould be the cause of the abandonment of playful activities in our society, it makes way forperformance and efficiency.Public space is the common space of our society, however, the conditioned behavior we exhibit here does not allow for playful intervention. Because of the patterned use of the public space,
we feel there simply isn’t the room and the time to engage in playful activities. Therefore, to
facilitate these playful activities in public space, existing structures of social contexts have to beadapted or transformed to engage your audiences. By testing the boundaries of our establishedsociety we can evoke engagement, raising awareness of the fluidity of our society and theexistential fulfillment of playfulness.link
Mostly our public spaces give us passive recreation, a place to sit down. But there are alternatives. One is they could offer active recreation opportunities another is to offer playful recreation opportunities. Public spaces as Playspaces.
Here's some ideas....
Playful urban spaces: a lesson from BilbaoI was in Bilbao a few weekends ago and spent several evenings in Plaza Nueva, a square in the old town and a popular weekend meeting place for local people. While grown-ups enjoyed drinks and tapas (or to use the Basque term, pintxos) in bars under the elegant colonnades, the central area was humming with children playing. Ball games, scooter races, chalk-picture-drawing, heely tricks (remember Heelys?) and chit-chat were just some of what was in the mix.
Early on in the evening (in Spanish terms, that is: up till about 10 pm) most of the children out playing were aged between 4 and 10. The level of high-energy play – impromptu football matches, fast scooter rides and chase games – was striking. At times, footballs flew over the ironwork and hit a table, or a scooting child zoomed down a slope and weaved past a pedestrian. These potential irritations were almost always greeted with a smile, if not simply ignored. I did not see a single argument, far less a security guard, the whole weekend. link
Playful Interactions StimulatingPhysical Activity in Public Space
Adding Playful Interaction to Public Spaces