• Proximity of Care Design Guide

Playable Streets

Images by Make Space 4 Play

The Playable Streets initiative includes a series of street upgrading interventions, set out to giving back the street to children.

Minor changes in streets can regain the normality of playing independently. The interventions adapt streets sections to support a richer mix of uses (stay&play) that include children, their caregivers and the broader community, providing equal access to play space and independent play opportunities.



Egypt, Rwanda, Netherlands


Make Space 4 Play

Private Practice/Consultant

Scale of catchment



Children aged 0-5 & Caregivers

Built environment component

Public space; Street




(1) Broadening pedestrian pavements (ideally 4 meters minimum width), allowing children to play while pedestrians can still use the same pavement.

(2) Traffic calming solutions: combining parking spaces at a parking lot around the corner; dividing the parking spaces in groups of four parking spaces on both sides of the street to create slower zigzag streets.

(3) Physical barriers between the pavement and the street protect children from running directly into the street, ideally multifunctional elements. i.e. bike parking, benches, or greenery.


(1) Giving ownership of a strip (60 cm / 2 tiles) of the pavement to the residents, though a ‘soft’ pavement area -with greenery and furniture- alongside houses, helps to soften the environment at child’s eye level and to intensify the ownership and use of the pavements.

(2) Ready-made play elements are not necessary. Differentiating public space fragments from their surroundings attract children to experience the different physical (height differences), tactile, visual or auditive appearance by themselves.

Implementation learnings

An important secret lies in attracting the parents and caregivers, providing seats, shaded shelter (depending on the local climate) looking out over the children. Designing for the youngest children is designing great places for their care givers, with extra multi-use elements for their children.




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