Cities Gather to Discuss #Playability at KaBOOM! Playful City USA Leaders Summit in Chicago

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Cities from across the country will join KaBOOM! for the second annual Playful City USA Leaders Summit in Chicago from October 23-24. The summit, made possible by the Humana Foundation, will convene city leaders from across the country, and from different sectors, to develop innovative solutions to address some of the toughest challenges facing their communities – crime, obesity, toxic stress, poverty – and to do so using a great equalizer, play.

The 12 Playful City USA teams who will be participating in the summit are:

  • Bloomington, Indiana
  • Brownsville, Texas
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Ottawa, Kansas
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • San Francisco, California
  • Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • Washington, DC
  • York, Pennsylvania

“People too often think about play as an individual responsibility rather than a societal or community responsibility. In that sense, play becomes a lower priority for mayors and other civic leaders,” KaBOOM! Founder and CEO Darell Hammond said. “We applaud the city leaders participating in the summit because they understand that play should be everywhere and should be easy to access – at bus stops, on sidewalks, and at the grocery store – and are taking bold steps to achieve their innovative visions.”

As bikeability and walkability become ubiquitous to urban cities, city leaders are now looking towards playability to provide a competitive advantage to attract and retain families. The Playful City USA Leaders Summit offers team cities the opportunity to workshop their Bold Goals and Big Ideas with other city leaders and subject matter experts.

The summit will also focus on equity and ensuring access to safe play spaces and experiences for low-income kids and families. As part of this focus, new behavioral economics research conducted by KaBOOM! and ideas42, a nonprofit specializing in using behavioral economics to do social good and have impact at scale, will be unveiled.

KaBOOM! chose to host the summit in Chicago because it serves as a shining example of city innovation and prioritizing playability. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his administration have committed to the ambitious goal of ensuring that all kids in the city live within a seven-minute walk to a park or playground. The city has also extended the school day to bring back recess, physical education, and the arts. City leaders are also working in tandem with community groups and the private sector to ensure that the play needs of all Chicagoans are met, in all neighborhoods.

To learn more about #playability, the summit, and KaBOOM!, visit

KABOOM! is the national non-profit that works to achieve playspace equity. Kids who don’t have access to play miss out on childhood and are denied critical opportunities to build physical, social and emotional health. And all too often, it more deeply affects communities of color. So we amplify the power of communities to build inspiring playspaces that spark unlimited opportunities for every kid, everywhere. KABOOM! has teamed up with partners to build or improve 17,000+ playspaces, engage more than 1.5 million community members and bring joy to more than 11 million kids. To learn about our goal to end playspace inequity for good, visit and join the conversation at,, and