2012’s ‘most playful’ US cities

By Anne Collier

This isn’t about technology, but it is about the importance of play, which enhances well-being online and offline. KaBOOM!, a Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit organization “dedicated to saving play,” just announced the 213 US cities that have made the effort “to increase play opportunities for children,” or “Playful Cities.” What Kaboom envisions is “a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America,” and the 213 communities, some of them (cited in that link) recognized for the sixth year in a row, are in 41 states. What are they recognized for, specifically? Here are three examples: Ferguson, Mo., has “Sunday Parkways,” free community play street events on Sunday afternoons which are closed to traffic so residents can play in the street; Houston provides “Love Your Block Grants” for citizens revitalizing neighborhood parks and other city spaces “for quality open space”; and last September in Pico Rivera, Calif., 200 volunteers “rallied together to transform an empty lot into a beautiful playspace using the community-build model” that the city has developed through its community improvement research. [See also this about how play spaces are where people develop the social skills that spell safety as well as enrichment in a networked world.]

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