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"Play is invaluable in returning a sense of safety, normalcy, and health." Courtney, KaBOOM! Project Manager

Sponsored by Humana Foundation

Congratulations to our 2015 Playful City USA communities!

KaBOOM! and The Humana Foundation are proud to recognize the 241 cities and towns from across the country making play a priority in their communities.

Meet this year's Playful City USA communities

Playful City USA communities utilize play as an innovative solution to address a number of challenges facing kids, families and communities. In turn, these communities retain a competitive advantage by creating healthier, more vibrant communities where families want to live and companies want to do business.

Cities are also becoming hotbeds of innovation, and this innovation has the potential to increase playability. Playability is the extent to which a city makes it easy for all kids to get balanced and active play.

Since we first coined the term in March 2014, thought leaders, national media outlets, corporations, consumers, and cities have picked up on the trend.

In Chicago, the Chicago Plays! program has a mission to bring a playground or park within a 10 minute walk of every kid. Bismarck, N.D. requires play to be a part of all new development within the city, bringing parks, playgrounds, and trails within a half-mile of every resident in new developments. In Charlotte, N.C., at least 1% of all capital improvement project funding is devoted to public art to enhance public spaces.

All families deserve to live in safe communities with abundant opportunities to play. In Flint, Mich., where 58% of youth live in poverty, public-private partnerships are bridging the gap in play opportunities. The Flint Chamber of Commerce hosts after school programs with dinner, active play, and music lessons. In Brownsville, Texas, the city expanded its popular health and wellness programming into underserved and vulnerable areas. For these CycloBia2U events streets shut down for the exclusive use of pedestrians, cyclists, and kids. The event brings safer streets, opportunities to play, and improved economic vitality eight times a year to Brownsville poorest communities.

Play provides a competitive advantage for cities by developing healthy kids and thriving communities. Greenville, S.C. understands that increasing play opportunities for kids contributes to the city's consistent ranking as a great place to work and live. Greenville's infrastructure with 40 playgrounds and innovative play everywhere ideas like Play Streets and Mobi-Rec have helped it become one of the fastest growing populations in South Carolina, growing 3.8% since 2010. Baltimore is working to grow the city by 10,000 families through a commitment to make it more family-friendly. The city launched Power in Dirt, an initiative to reduce the obstacles, and provide incentives, for residents to adopt vacant lots and transform them into spaces that serve the surrounding community. Residents have jumped at the opportunity, adopting over 1,000 lots and turning them into community gathering areas or even horseshoe playing pits.

Leading cities are taking comprehensive actions to bring play near all their residents. This innovative, play everywhere approach integrates play into routines and spaces where low-income families and kids spend time, turning moments of frustration into moments of joy. Ottawa, Kan. has painted 40 hopscotch courses throughout its neighborhoods. Thomasville, N.C., is intergrating hopscotch, balancing lines, shape hops and other simple activities at bus stops, waiting areas and sidewalks transforming them into kid-friendly spaces.

Ottawa Playful City USA

There are more examples of playability happening across America. Read our stories and watch the #playability hashtag on Twitter to see more.

Playability: The extent to which a city makes it easy for all kids to get balanced and active play.

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