The playful city: constructing a typology for urban design interventions

This article explores the intersection of scholarly findings on adult play with ludic urban interventions (those encouraging spontaneous and undirected playfulness). Playful urban design answers our innate need to explore, discover, experiment and even test our mental and physical boundaries. The urban environment as ‘play space’ can offer ample opportunities for nurturing adults’ innate playfulness. Twenty-seven cases of urban ludic interventions (existing and proposed) framed by the academic literature on adult play and the urban environment yielded a rich typology encompassing multiple play types, important design considerations and differing implementation styles. This typology will help urban planners and designers, policymakers, municipal officials, researchers and others appreciate the largely untapped potential for urban environments to act as a play space for all.

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