Urban commercial spaces—from grocery stores and laundromats to banks, convenience stores, barber shops and salons—are often destinations of necessity for families. These are the places parents and caregivers must visit regularly to accomplish the regular chores and transactions of daily life, and where, quite often, kids are forced to wait for extended periods of time. Commercial spaces, however, offer a prime opportunity to transform the most frustrating portions of the day into playful and joyful experiences. From the interior spaces within businesses to the exterior spaces around them (not to mention larger commercial districts and corridors), the places where commercial activities occur include underutilized spaces that can be repurposed for play.
Play in commercial spaces can be associated with either an individual business or a larger commercial district or corridor. It may occur indoors, within commercial spaces, or outdoors, where commercial properties interface with the surrounding built environment. Depending on the context, play may be supervised or unsupervised, but ideally it occurs in a place where parents and caregivers can observe and monitor kids' play while they are completing daily chores and errands. Ideally, the adults will also join in on the play.
Play Everywhere installations are best suited for locations that families visit often and regularly, such as grocery stores and supermarkets, banks, and other stores and services catering to daily needs. Other commercial spaces that could benefit from Play Everywhere ;installations include: laundromats, barber shops and salons and medical offices. The playspaces can be any size, and will go a long way towards making kids and families feel welcomed. Opportunities for indoor commercial playspaces include:
Play installations do not need to be inside the business. A playspace can be located in a repurposed outdoor space in the immediate vicinity of a commercial space, such as on the sidewalk or adjacent to the building. For example:
In areas where commercial uses tend to cluster, there are opportunities to scale and replicate Play Everywhere across a larger geographic area to foster synergies among multiple businesses. Such opportunities include: