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More projects on Play and the City

TED (conference)

I posted last week about Jason Sweeney and his TED City2.0 plan to map out quiet spaces in cities.

After doing some more poking around I found some other great projects all grouped under “Play in the City.”

First, I commend TED and the participants of this project for recognizing the need for play in all environments and for all ages.

Second, they have some really cool ideas to check out:

Bruno Ruganzu, 10k prize winner and the first TED Prize recipient of 2012 in Doha, Qatar at the TEDxSummit


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.

behavior · brain · community · culture · emotion · environment · happiness · health · Social · technology

Crowdsourcing Quiet Spaces in the City

For the past month I have been staying in a surprisingly noisy apartment. The neighborhood itself is very quiet, but just my luck to be staying over a night club and all-night grocery store. After this month the importance of being able to find quiet, peaceful places in a city rings all the more true and important to me (and it’s not just the ringing in my ears). From Inhabitat:

Cities have always been bustling environments, and with more and more of us living in them it can be difficult to find a quite place to relax or contemplate. Sound Artist Jason Sweeney‘s winning proposal for the TED Imagining the City 2.0 Prize is a crowdsourcing project that seeks to locate and map the places that provide silence in the urban din. The Stereopublic Project will be a public guide for those who crave a retreat from the crowds.

Based in Melbourn’s city center, Sweeney found himself attracted to tucked-in corners, where the city’s sound fades into the background and where the built environment is experienced as a sound environment. Inspired by his own experiences, he’s looking to create a platform where others can geo-tag and share their favorite quiet space. Sweeney is interested in helping those who are sensitive to noises, with disabilities, or just seeking respite from the constant din of the streets.

The TED City 2.0 prize will help his team develop a digital tool for crowdsourcing those places, adding a new layer of awareness to the cityscape for its occupants.

Cities are large, complex environments and the project is a unique way to understand the acoustic dynamic of city life. Stereopublic is based on active users sharing their findings, but ironically, the project’s success will likely make those quiet spaces busier, further pushing inhabitants to explore new places. The idea may become a failed experiment if it becomes too successful, but it also very well might help create new venues that improve the “sonic health” of a city — adding a vital resource to urban life.

Know of a quiet place in your city? Add it to the list, or leave it in the comments below and I’ll add it for you and if it’s in the Pacific Northwest may just try it out first. You know, for research).