It makes sense that this would be developed in Seattle, where it is wet a good portion of the year.
Like a new modern version of invisible ink, superhydrophobic coatings can also be used to create hidden street art that stays invisible until it gets wet. Peregrine Chuch, a Seattle-based street artist, created a series of public works of street art called Rainworks using the same sort of hydrophobic coatings that we saw being used in Germany to combat public urination.
Church creates the artwork spontaneously because he has been assured by the city authorities that what he is doing is legal – the coating is non-toxic, non-permanent, only sometimes visible, and his works don’t advertise anything. He says that, depending on how much the sidewalk in question is used, his pieces may last between 4 months and a year, but are most vivid within the first few weeks of application.
His works are diverse, and range from artistic drawings to fun and motivational messages to a hop-scotch game that can only be played when it’s wet.
This is a scathing opinion piece looking at the negative influences of space and place, specifically cars and car culture. Corwin argues passionately against the takeover of cars in to the city space and how it is anything BUT enriching. It is full of examples of what NOT to do, and therefore offers suggestions on how to solve it.
Our experiences driving cars in this city are, for the most part, fleeting. We drive somewhere, we get out of the car, we close the door, and we walk away. But to think that we can escape the world that cars have created as easily as we escape the car itself is foolish. In fact, when we leave our cars, we walk into that world. We have to live in that putrid mess.
Let’s talk about how Los Angeles is a city where construction projects can fence off whole blocks, including the sidewalks, without offering people on foot an alternative. Let’s talk about how when that happens, no one even considers converting one of the two car lanes into a temporary sidewalk, because dear god, that might cause slight inconvenience to people in cars. And let’s talk about how ironic it is that inconveniencing people in cars is the end of the world, but doing the same to people on foot is a non-issue. Then let’s talk about how when frustrated walkers decide to use the car lane rather than take the ridiculous detour, the city’s totally acceptable solution to that problem is not to concede space to those people, but rather to bolt permanent, metal signs into the middle of the sidewalk to keep them from doing so. That is cancer.
Poor children in coastal India are encouraged to play games as a way to bring sportsmanship and structure into their lives.
All of these great ideas and more are captured on the Play theme page of the TED City2.0 project.
I think people often think of play as done out in the woods or on playgrounds, and often forget that cities can contain all the resources needed for play. Just look at parkour or buildering or urban mountain biking, or even yarn bombing. That said, it is absolutely crucial to allow people to play in cities and to create spaces dedicated entirely to play, as much for grown-ups as for kids.
What other projects promoting play in the city are you aware of? Let me know in the comments below.
Seattle, the closest big city to me, is one of ten cities that is part of the Solar City plan. This is anthropological only in the sense of the “How are we supposed to keep ourselves alive for the next 100 years” question.