Creating kid-friendly spaces in our city doesn’t have to be costly, and we’ve seen first hand-hand how incorporating low-cost improvements to existing streets and sidewalks has the power to enhance a sense of place in a community. Through the Playful Gardens project, we explored some relatively inexpensive ways to enhance our streets as kid-friendly public spaces. With some traffic paint in hand and a whole lot of help from families and kids of all ages, the Pueblo Gardens neighborhood transformed one of their streets into a vibrant corridor of color and intrigue that also celebrated this unique community with mural art on the street and brightly painted crosswalks and sidewalks. In 2016, the Playful Gardens project was among 50 other projects nationwide to be funded by a grant from Kaboom!, and in their newly published Play Everywhere Playbook, they highlight Playful Gardens as a case study for best practices. Part of their guide outlines the fundamental principles of bringing play to everyday spaces along with design advice for how to transform all sorts of spaces from sidewalks to alleyways to trails and ways to measure public perception of those spaces. While technical design is only part of a successful project, Playful Gardens is an example of how small demonstrations like these can have big impacts by bringing together neighbors, fostering ownership and even serving as a catalyst for inspiring more positive community-building projects.
Get inspired by the Play Everywhere Playbook, and checkout the Playful Gardens Case Study right here in Tucson.