children · creativity · environment

Play and Creativity Require Space and Time

I found this video courtesy of Creativitea. They were using it to explain how they don’t believe in creating things under a time pressure. It really does a great job of illustrating how we all need to give ourselves more time, and space in our lives, to get creative and think about things.

Have a happy weekend, and make sure to make some space for play and creativity.

architecture · community · design · environment · play

Superkilen: Global Mash-up of a Park

Using parks and other playful spaces to improve urban neighborhoods and the residents’ lives…

THE DIRT

super1
The nearly mile-long Superkilen park in Denmark is a bold attempt to create a new identity for an “ethnically diverse and socially challenged” neighborhood in Copenhagen, Denmark. An in-depth community outreach process organized by the city has led to a place like no other, with a sequence of plazas that honor different ethnics groups living in the area. Designed by Bjarke Ingels’ firm, BIG, landscape architecture firm, Topotek 1, and artists’ group, Superflex, the massive project also accomplished a lot with a little budget: at just $34 per square foot, the landscape “packs a lot of bang for the buck.” The project, which has recently been all over the design press, also just took home the AIA Institute Honor Award for urban and regional design and an annual design award from Architect Magazine in the “play” category.

The AIA jury, which included Ellen Dunham Jones, author of Retrofitting Suburbia

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behavior · community · environment · happiness · health · Nature

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA | Video on TED.com

Happy Spring Forward. Time to start planting seeds and playing in the dirt. In honor of getting dirty and creative, here’s a a TED talk from Ron Finley, guerrilla gardener.

Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”Ron Finley grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.

Best quote ever: Gardening is the most therapeutic & defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city. Plus you get strawberries.”

via Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA | Video on TED.com.

play · Social

Even the president of the U.S. makes time for play

Reposted from Hypable:

Though U.S. President Barack Obama is probably one of the busiest and most stressed people in the world, he still has time to show his fun side as seen in the latest photo released by the White House today in which he’s gets caught in a young Spider-Man’s web.

Check out the adorable photo of President Obama fighting Spider-Man below, which was released across the President’s Facebook and Twitter pages earlier today. If you look closely you can even see that the President seems to be making a battle-style sound effect of being caught in Spidey’s web – something all of us have to admit to doing when playing with kids in superhero uniforms!

We wonder which villain the President was taking on. With his hands in the air could he have been impersonating Doctor Octopus? We’re sure the youngster’s imagination was running wild as the President indulged the Spider-Man battle!

Nice to be reminded that there are always opportunities for play, and no matter how responsible or important or busy you are, play is important.

behavior · community · creativity · happiness · play · Social

Why The Nose working to get a laugh out of the world

A clown nose

Happy Friday! Have you been waiting all week for some fun? Why the wait? Why not get a quick giggle in now? All it takes is a little red piece of foam, and the ability to not take yourself too seriously. I saw this shared on Facebook and had to spread the good cheer.

Why The Nose is a movement in clown accessories laughter and clowning around:

Whythenose.com is dedicated to the act of wearing a clown nose everyday, in order to make people smile.

It’s here for YOU…to encourage you with an act of Heroic Uninhibited Innocence :)

It’s really that simple. In a world filled with distractions and distrust, you’d be amazed at how many people (of all ages) have lost a sense of childlike wonder. Or maybe you wouldn’t…

Wearing a clown nose is fun, it’s easy, and it’s free (if you already have the nose).

We’re not trying to sell anything, we’re only showing you how joyful it is to change someone’s day.
Trust us, the nose breaks through barriers and opens doors every time you wear it…give it a try!

This phenomenon of adults wearing silly noses has been seen around both the 2011 and 2012 Burning Man Festival and other playful grown-up events courtesy of Tex Allen, who according to the website is a “responsible burner” but also wants to encourage people to enjoy themselves and enjoy their lives. I honestly hope this becomes a movement beyond just the Burning Man circuit, although I don’t think you’d need to wear the nose all day to get the effect he’s looking; maybe just for a quick trip to the grocery store. Visit the website for videos of some high quality goofing off. Or visit them on their Facebook page to see who else is getting their silly on.

Check out the video from Burning Man 2011 for more examples and maybe some inspiration.

creativity · environment · play

Bringing the outdoor experience to lunch

Villa Escudero Waterfalls Restaurant

I’m back from a short vacation, much of it spent in Spokane, WA, where I was thoroughly impressed by the falls and the fact that they had built this amazing promenade on both sides of the river to encourage people to go out and enjoy this beautiful site right in the middle of their city. I saw this blog post from Inhabitat this morning, and while I don’t think Spokane is quite ready to take the plunge with this, I thought there might be some fun inspiration for them here:

The Villa Escudero Resort of San Pablo City in the Philippines offers a one of a kind experience for guests to get up close and personal with a roaring waterfall while enjoying their lunch! Their waterfall restaurant sits at the foot of the Labasin Fallswhere guests can enjoy local cuisine at handmade bamboo tables while clear spring water runs over their feet. The falls are so people friendly, guests can even lie against the rushing water covered wall for quick massage or post-lunch rinse off. This is one resort where no shirt and no shoes are no problem!

I wish more restaurants and public locations would let grown-ups play during lunch. 🙂
architecture · behavior · community · creativity · environment · happiness · health · play · Social

Adults for playgrounds? Yes, please!

Playground
Grown-ups often need a little more persuasion to play than kids. (Photo credit: phalinn)

Earlier this week I brought up the importance of spaces for play in the city, and then yesterday mentioned a scientific study that used traceurs or people who practice parkour, a sport that basically makes any space into a play space. Unfortunately park playgrounds are often verboten to grown-ups without a kid companion. But often grown-ups like the play equipment, or similar play equipment, as much as kids do. Now, the cities of New York and Detroit are determining where and whether to put in playgrounds specifically for adults:

New York City is installing adult playgrounds for fitness-hungry grown-ups, touting the benefits of a grade-school workout. …the Big Apple parks are geared more toward workouts than whiling away the summer hours. There aren’t any slides or swings yet at these outdoor gyms.

The City of New York built its first adult playground in the Bronx’s Macomb Dam Park. The New York Times reports as many as 24 playplaces for grown-up kids could be installed by 2014.

In Europe, where playtime seems to be more a more capricious venture, adult playgrounds tempt grown-ups to get off the couch with detailed outdoor mazes, rock climbing walls, elephant slides and swimming canals.

Philip Lauri is the founder of Detroit Lives!, the media company with the mission of bringing creativity to the streets of Detroit (through an apparel line, murals and the “After The Factory” documentary). Detroit Lives! has recently started experimenting with making places in the city that inspire that same joie de vivre and fun — like the Georgia Street Community Collective’s remote-control racetrack for kids living in the nonprofit’s target neighborhood. He thinks adult playgrounds could be smart additions to neighborhoods who have already installed thriving community gardens.

“In those areas, we install an adult playground as an addendum to that successful effort, and use the kind of neighborhood engagement that the garden created to successfully initiate the adult playground,” Lauri wrote. “Then, both sites grow with participation and we get healthier people and neighborhoods. That’s a simplified progression, but still tangible enough to act upon quite quickly.”

Most people taking the Huffington Post poll are all for adult playgrounds.

In some ways I find it sad that we need to create playgrounds specifically for grown-ups. Don’t we teach our kids to share and cooperate? But, in many ways it makes sense: for one thing, adults are bigger and therefore need different sized equipment. They also tend to play rougher, more competitively, and less cooperatively than children (according to numerous studies I’ll find and source later), so keeping the two play groups separated is probably a safer idea. Finally, grown-ups also need to be given explicit permission to goof off, at least much more so than kids, so giving them a space devoted entirely to play will help them get creative and playful in their movement.

What kind of equipment would you want on an adult playground? Rope swings? Fireman’s pole? Leave your thoughts in the comments below?

creativity · design

Furniture for Breakfast

On this blog we often talk about the importance of being more playful and fun. Two great ways to be more playful are with design and food. One designer decided to combine both!

As covered by Design*Sponge:

I was glad to see that this year’s [Milan Furniture Fair] show offered more tongue-in-cheek pieces that played around with the idea of furniture in a fun and fresh way. This “furniture tasting” waffle iron is from Ryosuke Fukusada and Rui Pereira, and it allows you to produce, essentially, a completely edible collection of dollhouse living room furniture. Is this a super functional design? Perhaps not (although you can eat what you make), but it’s a clever way to play with design while bringing up the topic of mass production. Although I may have to be in favor of mass production if it means plates full of tasty furniture-shaped waffles. Click here for more information and details over at the 2DM Magazine blog. Thanks to our resident foodie, Kristina, for the tip.

Photos via 2DM

Just another excuse to play with your food. 🙂

What other examples of fun food design have you seen lately? Share them in the comments below.