When you look at a cardboard box, what do you see? Many adults simply see garbage or a storage item. If you ask a child, they might see a fort, a rocket ship, a kitchen, a musical instrument or a new pet. The ability to look at an object or space and turn it into something fun is a skill kids excel at. Growing older, sometimes it is easy to forget the power of “out of the box” thinking. Sometimes, building a playground requires a whole lot of creativity. One Playful City USA community embraced the power of creative thinking to open a play space that is one of a kind!
The community of Spearfish, South Dakota, was faced with an abandoned big-box store. A former shopping center for residents of Spearfish, the abandoned store had turned into an unsightly facility with an uncertain future. Abandoned big-box stores or “ghost-boxes” can leave cities struggling to find ways to bring life back and use back into the shell of a building. Law Professor Sarah Schindler, from the University of Maine, warns that an abandoned building of such a large size can cause reduced property values, loss of tax revenue, environmental problems and a decrease in social capital for the city.