Roofmeadow, Studio Ludo, University City District
The Play Parklet
City living is usually spent between indoor private areas, sidewalks and streets. Each area is governed by strict rules, and for some young children it can take a while to get to the park where they're free to move. The Play Parklet will bring that freedom much closer, by transforming two parking spots into a natural play cove. We have chosen a busy but low-income area, with row homes sandwiched by transit routes, salons, a day care, a pharmacy, a dental office, a bakery and other services. The Play Parklet will help families by providing an outlet that is already part of their routines. It will also serve as a prototype for us to learn how to implement future play parklets efficiently and effectively, and disseminate those findings. Our proposal builds on an existing successful dining parklet program, run by UCD in West Philadelphia.
We hope to facilitate:
Mind/Body Connection - Young children will have the opportunity to gain abilities through contact with a gently rolling surface of netting over a vegetated area that connects to a sand box with play elements. Here, young children can test out their climbing, balancing and coordination
Loose Ties - We expect that kids will meet and start to form friendships, and their caregivers could too. We expect inter-generational interactions to increase because of this park. Through casual socializing, we expect The Play Parklet to facilitate improved access to information across race, age and class lines (referring to Mark Granovetter's 1973 theory, "The Strength of Weak Ties")
Social Tapestry - Simultaneously, the same structure can comfortably fit groups of older kids or adults for informal or organized gatherings. Small-scaled programming, such as study groups, play groups or book clubs could appropriate the play park after-hours, keeping eyes-on-the-street and improving safety. Local businesses could host promotional events at the parklet as well
Nature RX - The native meadow environment affords city-dwellers the therapeutic benefits of nature in a comfortable and playful way
Visibility - From this hilltop position, the Parklet will enjoy high visibility and reach audiences of pedestrians, transit riders, and motorists
Research shows that playing makes us smarter and nature makes us nicer. The Play Parklet includes children in street life while giving them an outlet for more physical and social freedom. If successful, our design template could be used abundantly, here and elsewhere.
- Roofmeadow and Studio Ludo, in partnership with University City District