7 steps towards a playful and artistic city

At the recent Urban Thinkers’ Campus in Alghero, Italy, children were championed by a small group of protagonists who highlighted their rights as city-dwellers in a special exhibit: “[The art of] Reconquering public space by playing”, organised and designed by TaMaLaCà.

The exhibit is a reflection on some basic urban actions towards a city “open for play”. Each urban action, experienced by TaMaLaCà through different projects over recent years, is explained by pictures, videos, short descriptions, and even by a small game.

Children’s rights

There were 7 key steps highlighted at the exhibition:

1. Taking back the streets from cars.
Freeing public spaces occupied by cars is one of the biggest challenges for urbanism. Giving the streets back to the children, even if only for a day, is a relevant and useful urban action.

2. Using innovative and playful communication tools.
Storytelling and imaginative playful communication can help to engage children in intangible but effective urban regeneration processes.

3. Reclaiming public space through play.
Adults worry that playing in the street is dangerous, but not to play in the street is even more so!
Children (and adults!) can use playing as a tool for reclaiming streets for people.

4. Colonising small public spaces.
Many extra-small, low-cost and short-term urban projects can be as useful as one big one. For sure they are more enjoyable!

5. Making the whole city playable.
By “placing” their small bodies in almost any urban space, children tell us (and show us) that the whole city is playable. Anything is possible if you want it badly enough!

6. Using schools and schoolyards as public spaces.
Every neighbourhood, even the most disadvantaged, has its own state school. Using schools and school grounds as public spaces is an effective and inexpensive way to improve urban quality of life.

7. Involving children in urban decision-making processes
We mean involving children directly, applying innovative and unconventional methods on “classical” urban decision-making processes: because to play (and the right to play) is a serious matter.

“This is not a swing. It’s a Right!”

In the exhibit TaMaLaCà explores some possible relations between art and play. The motto, which better expresses the concept, is “This is not a swing, it’s a Right”, paraphrasing the well-known Magritte painting. When we talk about a city open for art, we talk about creativity, communication and innovation: about how to build a vibrant city. But it also means to talk about people, inclusivity, and the right to the city. Children have to be considered part of urban art actions, but not only. Playing can be their authentic artistic intervention. There is nothing more personal, instinctive, positive or free. This is why we affirm that the city we need is a city open for play.

If you would like to have a taste of the exhibit, see more on: https://www.facebook.com/tamalaca.tuttamialacitta/?fref=ts

Author: TaMaLaCa – Interdisciplinary research group 

Author: TaMaLaCa - Interdisciplinary research group

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