Kids & Parents are Calling Out for Play Everywhere
People don’t just want great parks and playgrounds; they want a complete reimagining of what our urban spaces and places look like — from sidewalks and bus stops to health clinics and laundromats.
KaBOOM! has realized that building hundreds of playgrounds each year isn't enough. To ensure that all kids, especially the 16 million living in poverty in America, can get the balanced and active play they need to thrive, we need scalable solutions. Playability is one of those solutions.
Cities and towns, along with leaders from every sector working together, have the power to turn playspaces, and all spaces, into transformative theaters of activity, inspiration, and discovery—and in the process, to change minds and habits.
Play as a Competitive Advantage for Cities
The Economics of Playability
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 only grown, but now they are 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.
Families are migrating
out of city centers
Married couples living in a city center whose youngest child is less than one year old 42%
28%Married couples living in a city center whose youngest child is 10 years old
Cities Want Young Families
to Play and Stay
Keeping Playability Equitable
To attract and retain the businesses, jobs and residents who breathe energy and enterprise into their neighborhoods, cities first need to foster family-friendly, kid-friendly environments that promote play everywhere—and it must also happen in low-income, underserved communities.
We currently have inequitable distribution of services, resources, and opportunities for low-income families. And, this inequity serves to perpetuate the cycle of poverty that threatens our nation’s economic future.
In DC, we have 71 miles of bike lanes, but virtually none in Anacostia where a large percentage of low-income people live. This type of reality is true in low-income communities across the country. And, there is inadequate funding, creativity, and desire to change this.
Founder of KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is working on increasing the understanding that play can happen everywhere in a community. Play doesn’t have to happen in a multi-million dollar park renovation. Play can happen in moments of downtime. Grocery store lines. Bus stops. Parking spaces. Laundromats. These are all places that can become playable opportunities. Places where moments of frustration can be transformed into kid-friendly, creative, and playable moments of joy. KaBOOM! wants to work with cities to develop long-term, comprehensive plans that effectively and equitably create family-friendly cities that benefit all kids.