For children growing up in cities, the ability to play in public space is indispensable. However, the available space for playscapes seems to decrease, as its importance is often neglected in urban planning. The architectural project Urban Playscapes explores the importance of securing and expanding public space for play, based on experiments in post-war Sarajevo and Amsterdam.
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The importance of play
Through play, children learn to develop social skills and a healthy lifestyle. Playgrounds also help to overcome (social) differences. The availability of playgrounds ties families to an area and plays an important role in social cohesion on the neighbourhood scale. Parents and children gather around playgrounds and increase the liveliness and safety of public space. The benefits seem to outweigh the costs. Nevertheless, the importance of public space for playful purposes is not undisputed in urban planning, especially when cities grow and densify.
About Urban Playscapes Sarajevo
‘Urban Playscapes’ is an architectural project by Studio Radenovic. It aims to analyse the causes and consequences of the ever-decreasing position of children in the public space of growing cities, with a focus on the situation of Sarajevo, in Bosnia-Hercegovina. It is based on Dutch expertise in the development of city playgrounds, following the model of architect Aldo van Eyck. That showed explicitly that seemingly small interventions in the public domain may have a considerable social impact on the city. Public meeting places, such as children’s playgrounds, foster integration and social cohesion of parents and other adults in a divided city like Sarajevo – a cheap solution proposed long ago by van Eyck for postwar Amsterdam.
During this edition of the New Urban Agenda series we invite experts to delve deeper into the subject and draw parallels between the case of Sarajevo and other cities around the world, most particularly Amsterdam.