With 2016 less than a month away, most of us are already planning our goals for the year ahead. However, as we focus on the future, it is important to not lose sight of fun things like unstructured play and recreation.
Play is vital for everyone but unfortunately in some communities, play spaces are harder to come by. Lack of age appropriate playgrounds and cramped urban areas are partly to blame.
Research shows that most millennials prefer staying and working in urban areas. But priorities change as they decide to get married and start a family. The city-vibe love is often outweighed by the want for better schools, affordability and appropriate play spaces for their children. Eventually, they decide to move to the suburbs at the cost of an urban lifestyle.
This shouldn’t be the case. Cities should foster family-friendly, kid-friendly environments that promote play everywhere. Confined streets should be transformed into hubs of activity. “Playability” is the need of the hour.
Instead of researching good suburbs to move into in the coming year, millennials can gather members of their community to discuss ways to breathe life and introduce play in their neighborhood. One viable option could be pocket parks or playgrounds.
Pocket parks are urban open spaces on a small-scale that provide a safe and inviting environment for surrounding community members. They meet a variety of needs and functions, including: small event space, play areas for children, spaces for relaxing or meeting friends, taking lunch breaks, etc.
Successful “pocket parks” have four key qualities: they are accessible; allow people to engage in activities; are comfortable spaces; and finally, are sociable places.
Play doesn’t always have to happen in a gigantic playground. In fact, it should be introduced in every aspect of our daily lives and spaces. “Playability” is an important strategy in keeping young families in the city and planning a playful 2016.
For more information on the importance of playability, watch this insightful video by KaBOOM!