Upswing: Retractable Jump Ropes and Sidewalk Play as Neighborhood Renewal
Active RVA, in partnership with the City of Richmond, proposes to install retractable jump ropes outside of barber shops and salons in low-income neighborhoods in Richmond. Retractable ropes installed outside of these businesses will provide children and families the opportunity to play, jump, connect with one another, and perceive their community to be a place where activity, fun, and fitness are valued and integrated with everyday life.
These jump ropes would be installed using repurposed cigarette stands, previously used for the disposal of cigarette ashes. Instead, these stands would become Upswing stations where children would be able to jump rope while their parent or caregiver is in the place of business. By installing a retractable rope on the Upswing station, kids can utilize the sidewalk space within easy sight of their guardians.
Barber shops and salons are gathering places in Richmond's low-income majority African-American communities. During the economic recession, many African-American owned businesses in the city couldn't sustain, but the barbershops have. Families will encounter this play opportunity in the course of a walk through the community and can engage in bursts of play en route.
Richmond's low-income neighborhoods, especially those surrounding public housing, are currently undergoing comprehensive redevelopment. Weaving play into the fabric of revitalized streetscapes will increase youth and family engagement in healthy, fun recreation while furthering the visual transformation of these neighborhoods into safe, positive communities of choice.
- Jeff McIntyre