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The Future of Play is Now at Paine's Park

A short while ago, Inga Saffron, the Philadelphia Inquirer's resident Architecture Critic, waxed disappointment with the "playgrounds in a box" that constitute a vast majority of Philly's child-oriented play spaces. She mused: : "What if the city ditched plans for new forts and opted instead for something rougher and more ad hoc, say, the playground equivalent of the pop-up beer gardens that have been so successful?" Well, it just so happens that a new partnership between the Community Design Collaborative and the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) wants to change-up the way we think about play through a call for ideas for innovative play spaces.

For inspiration, head on up to Paine's Park, where Mural Arts' public outdoor-arts exhibition Open Source recently brought two sculptures specifically made for skateboarding to the Schuylkill-adjacent skate park, blurring the line between play space and art.

The How We Play exhibition aims to highlight international best practices in the design of outdoor play spaces. Winning submissions will be on display at the Center for Architecture in Philadelphia from August 5 through September 25, 2015.

From the Call for Entries:

A prime example of a play space that defies the paradigm is Philly's Paine's Park, the publicly-funded skatepark beneath the Art Museum. Through Open Source, artist Jonathan Monk installed two "skateable sculptures" in Paine's Park that effectively blur the line between art and play space. In an interview with Gregston Hurdle at Green Label, Hurdle remarks on the artist's approach to his work as similar to a skateboarder's approach to his environment. "You take what is established or "not to be touched" and make it your own," Hurdle observes.

Used to be, Love Park represented the unnavigable divide between skaters and, well, everybody else. Here now, an olive branch: art for admiring and for free-styling. Head on over to the community design collaborative to submit your idea for the play space of the future, and head up to Paine's Park to ogle at the tricks (or just the art) at Philly's totally bodacious cross-genre public space.

A photo posted by Steve Weinik (@steveweinik) on

· Inga Saffron's Dream Playground Exists! It's Just in California [Curbed Philly]
· Why Philadelphia Is Commissioning Skateable Public Art [City Lab]
· How We Play Exhibition [Call for Entries]
· "Saga of a Skate Landmark" [Documentary Film]
· Philly Gets A New, Publicly Funded Skatepark for More than Just Skaters [Next City]