FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) today announced a new partnership with national non-profit KaBOOM!, experts in mobilizing communities to create wondrous, inviting and unifying play spaces that meet the needs of kids and families. This partnership will allow public housing residents of all ages to bring their imaginations and thinking-caps to resident-led, family-friendly playground workshops where they will develop the vision and guide the design of new playgrounds coming to their developments.
These workshops will include the expertise of KaBOOM! play space planners and give families the opportunity to share their creative input and preferences on playground design. They will be followed by community-build days, where families and community members will make those ideas come to life as they join the KaBOOM! team to build the playground together.
NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said, "Vibrant play-spaces are central to creating connected public housing communities––and all children deserve a space where they can explore, learn, and thrive with one another. This innovative new partnership goes even further, inviting families to participate in the design process and giving young residents the opportunity to see their imaginations come to life."
NYCHA Director of Public-Private Partnerships Rasmia Kirmani-Frye said, "This exciting new partnership with KaBOOM! will allow families to play a key role in designing the new playgrounds where childhood memories will be made for years to come. Collaborations like this are crucial to creating more connected communities and preserving public housing for the Next Generation. "
KaBOOM! CEO James Siegal said, "Play is the essence of childhood, and it is critical to healthy childhood development. But far too many kids miss out on the opportunity to play. We're thrilled that NYCHA is taking the lead on ensuring their communities get the great play spaces they deserve. We also know kids are the best playground designers around; we can't wait to see their ideas for new ways to play across NYCHA communities."
NYCHA will work directly with Resident Associations to implement this participatory playground-development process. The Authority is identifying the first 5 sites for playground workshops. Families participating in the playground workshops will work together to give input on how to transform their community play spaces. The schedule for the family playground workshops and community-builds will be announced in Spring 2017.
NYCHA Resident Board Member Victor Gonzalez said, "Thanks to this partnership with KaBOOM! NYCHA families will not only have a direct role in designing their playgrounds, but they will have the tools to explore their imagination and that is guaranteed to have a positive impact on our future."
Last month, residents of Red Hook Houses teamed up with KaBOOM! experts for a playground workshop that will be used as the working model for this new partnership.
Red Hook Houses resident 11 year old Taqi said, "I think this is great. The fact that you might one day play in a playground you designed had a real impact on us."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, "I thank KaBOOM! for their ‘energizing' partnership with families at Red Hook Houses to design and develop playgrounds for their community. It's exciting to see our youngest NYCHA residents get engaged in this process, a model for us to follow as we work to improve the quality of life at public housing developments across our borough."
City Council Member Carlos Menchaca said, "I am proud of Red Hook's youth who shared their playground design ideas and also set an example for how NYCHA and KaBOOM! will work together in other communities. I hope other NYCHA topics and projects use similar community engagement. When residents' voices lead design conversations we get better results. Red Hook's new playgrounds will be fantastic, and I know residents will be thrilled to see their ideas brought to life."
Increasing resident engagement and prioritizing resident input is a key component of the NextGeneration NYCHA plan, which places residents at the forefront of the mission to strengthen public housing for generations. Inviting residents to design playgrounds coming to their developments will create more connected and engaged public housing communities by giving families a direct voice in how new investments are used to make physical upgrades to developments to improve quality of life.
About NYCHA's Office of Public-Private Partnerships
NYCHA's Office of Public/Private Partnerships builds collaborations with the private, public and philanthropic sectors to support NYCHA's goals of preserving public housing and improving resident access to community-based services and opportunities.
KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,700 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers and served 8.5 million kids. KaBOOM! creates great places to play, inspires communities to promote and support play, and works to drive the national discussion about the importance of play in fostering healthy and productive lives. To learn why #playmatters, visit kaboom.org or join the conversation at twitter.com/kaboom or facebook.com/kaboom.