Loiza, Puerto Rico
Zona de Paz (Peace Zone)
Zona de Paz involve local residents in the creation, designation and installation of 4 neutral "Peace Zones" that can provide safe and interactive play opportunities for children and families in the public areas leading to and from 4 elementary schools on Loíza's main thoroughfare, PR Highway 187. We expect the project to contribute to the transformation of social norms by normalizing: inter-community and inter-generational play; the active occupation of public spaces; and violence free geographies.
Building upon local traditions and idiosyncrasies, we expect each zone to be clearly defined through the use of traffic-mimicking signs; sidewalk games; and oversized, interactive and colorful all weather play equipment that encourages collective play. Some ideas that have been presented and discussed with local collaborators include:
- Hopscotch and/or mazes in the shape of Loíza and its barrios
- Water-stenciled or painted traditional local African heritage mask sidewalk designs
- Percussion instruments made with PVC pipes and other locally available materials
- Signs that clearly announce entrance into a Peace Zone, among others
Installation will concentrate on bus stops, crosswalks, and sidewalks commonly used by local community families in their daily commute to and from school; and due to space limitations, will consist mostly of stationary (non-climbing/non-motion) play opportunities.
Necessary permits are mostly administered by the municipality of Loíza, but we will also approach the PR Department of Education and the PR Department of Transportation and Public Works in order to assure project development and permits. Using community theater strategies to encourage participation during installation, and on-going use, we propose to gradually inaugurate two zones each month beginning in October. Inauguration strategies will integrate elements of continuation between each zone in order to encourage the community to visit multiple zones and interact outside their own community barrio.
- Alana Feldman Soler