The future of playgrounds is here, and in the next few months you’ll be able to experience it in three neighborhoods in West Philadelphia.
Three under-utilized spaces in University City and along Lancaster Avenue will soon be transformed into three unique playgrounds this fall and spring, thanks to a grant awarded by Kaboom!, a national non-profit that counted the projects among 50 winners of the Play Everywhere Challenge.
The competition provides the winners with funds to turn their innovative solutions into reality, allowing places for play in unexpected spaces—especially in neighborhoods "where families struggle to make ends meet," according to the press release.
Once the play spaces are built, the designers are expected to track usage of the playgrounds and report back to Kaboom! and see how the area has (or hasn’t) changed.
Here are the three winning design proposals coming to Philly:
1. The Playable Sidewalk (Lancaster Avenue)
Alex Gilliam of the non-profit Tiny WPA is no stranger to Lancaster Avenue, which is where his non-profit Tiny WPA is based. For years, he and his team have been designing and building small-scale projects with huge impacts. That’s the jist of his Playable Sidewalk Kit proposal, which will engage the community along Lancaster Avenue in West Philly to create special benches, bike parks, and planters that encourage exercise and movement.
2. Urban Thinkscape (Belmont)
Not far from the Playable Sidewalk will be the Urban Thinkscape, a project designed by Temple University students that combines science with playful architecture. The students will use the funds to create small installations along Lancaster Avenue that will encourage kids to move and think, like a Jumping Feet game aimed to boost their executive function skills.
3. The Play Parklet (University City)
University City District’s parklet program has been such a rousing success since its launch five years ago, but this Play Parklet may be its most innovative yet. The design by Roofmeadow and Studio Ludo aims to transform two parking spots into an interactive parklet, or what they call a "natural playcove." The sustainable parklet will even feature stormwater management, designer Kate Farquhar told City Lab.
- Catharine Park: The smallest green space in Philly [Curbed Philly]
- Park(ing) Day Philadelphia: 10 parklets we loved by local design firms [Curbed Philly]