Writing Wall – Playful Cities

Just what do we mean by playfulness, certainly more than just children’s play in formal playgrounds.  Playfulness is something for everyone of all ages, but how can you spread a little playfulness across a whole borough? Tower Hamlets leads London as a healthy borough, with a green grid strategy that focusses developers on creating new public space, and has a forceful Play Association keeping play close to the top of the agenda – it’s the natural home for London’s most playful borough.

Planners are rarely seen as a playful bunch, but they mucked in to make the Writing Wall Workshop a high energy event.  Split into small groups, participants were asked to explore concepts of playfulness, provide examples of playful spaces and why they were playful, and suggest places that could become more playful.  How about the route of the 242 bus? With playful cues at each stop, and green roofed shelters.

Working in different groups they shared knowledge of Tower Hamlets to discuss potential playful places and for whom and when they might be playful.  They also identified more than 70 different organisations and individuals that could help deliver playfulness.

Where next for Playful Tower Hamlets?  Within the room there were many who felt that they could contribute to making the borough more playful, with Tower Hamlets Homes offering a further opportunity for people to meet on site to develop playfulness.

We are planning a future event in Tower Hamlets, but also have arranged an event at the end of March 2011 on playful and walkable neighbourhoods at the South London Gallery in Peckham – follow the link below to register your interest in the South London Gallery event and we can send you an invitation nearer the time when the date and times are confirmed.

This article previously appeared on the Rethinking Cities website.