Play as a Competitive Advantage for Cities
Cities and communities are engaged in a fierce contest for the future. They are competing for businesses, economic development, and jobs. They are competing for residents—for families who will breathe energy and enterprise into their neighborhoods.
Ten years ago, a creative class settled into downtown, urban centers. Condos and coffee shops followed. As the creative class has aged, their value to cities, in spending power and taxable income, has not only grown, but now they are also having children. As their children age, married couples move to the suburbs on the promise of safer streets and better schools, at the cost of an urban lifestyle.
Playability is a key strategy in this struggle to keep young families in cities. Urban leaders are transforming their streetscapes into livable, walkable, bikeable places that attract the creative class, and dramatically improve their citizens’ quality of life. But how do we ensure that these cities also meet the needs of families and kids? To retain this critical sector of people, cities must adapt to new needs and desires – and that means incorporating spaces for kids into city plans.