November 19, 2014

Incorporating Play into Urban Landscapes

photo: KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! — a nonprofit dedicated to bringing play to children —released a report urging cities to consider building play into their landscapes. The idea is that by putting play opportunities where people have idle time, such as waiting for the bus, it will be much easier for children to get the amount of play they need without having a parent bring them to a playground.

KaBOOM!, with behavioral economics research organization ideas42, identified the decision-making process that occurs when an adult thinks about bringing a child to a playground. There were three potential psychological barriers to play: parents and other caregivers may not even think about play, there is unclear feedback on different types of play activities, and the process of getting ready to leave the home to play may be difficult.

The report argues that these barriers can be sidestepped when play opportunities are easily available and built into the landscape, such as swings at a bus stop or a mini-playground on the corner.