Play is a mindset. It shouldn't be restricted to the playground; neither should it be restricted to children. Play is for everyone and can happen everywhere!
This was the philosophy that drove our recent work at last week's re: Streets charrette, which brought together urban planners, landscape architects, environmentalists, city officials, and play advocates from across the country to "explore the future of streets and what America's roadways would be like if they were designed for living, instead of driving."
One of our challenges as part of the "Play and Recreation" working group was to redesign a residential street to offer play opportunities to neighbors aged 0 to 100. We all agreed that it was important to design the street so that cars and playing families could co-exist, but that it was also important for the street to close periodically so that neighbors could gather and play without the interference of cars.
What can we add to a street to make it more playful? Here are a few ideas:
Most of these ideas are things that neighbors can build, create, or install themselves. We also discussed creating a "Play Street Kit," complete with game stencils; DIY instructions for building sandboxes and storage benches; and other play elements. What would you like to see included in this kit? What other ideas do you have for making your street more playful?