Play Streets Program
Image by KDI
The Play Streets program seeks to enable residents to temporarily close neighbourhood blocks to traffic and convert them into spaces for recreation, exercise, and gathering.
Like many cities of the world, Los Angeles is infamous for its car culture, and the pollution and safety issues resulting from its traffic-dominated streets are a significant public health concern. Through this temporary occupation of otherwise car-dominated space, the initiative aims to mobilise the community and more flexible uses for city streets, particularly in neighbourhoods that lack access to open space and parks.
Location Los Angeles, USA
Organisation Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI)
Partner organisations Los Angeles Department of Transportation
Scale of catchment Neighbourhood
Built environment component Public space; Street
Beneficiary Local residents, especially children ages 3-12
INTERVENTION DESIGN LEARNINGS
A pilot was conducted prioritising low-income, park-poor communities.
Residents of each neighbourhood lead and organise Play Street events. In Phase 1 of the pilot a “Box of Play” was designed containing games and portable furnishings, at Play Street events.
In Phase 2 of the pilot, residents are successfully using the online application to apply for Play Street events.
A custom-built play pieces called “Wobbles” was designed to help children transform their streets and play in their favourite ways
A “Box of Play” is deployed at each event, providing shade sails, games, and a set of Wobbles that can be put together, taken apart, moved, and used individually to inspire residents of all ages to reimagine their streets for play.
(1) The intervention builds evidence to present recommendations to the Department of Transportation
so that Play Streets can roll out permanently across the city.
(2) The program is especially beneficial to those without easy access to parks, improving mental, emotional and physical health while increasing community cohesion and safety.