Competition Name: Play Space Design Competition
Details: The Community Design Collaborative, in partnership with the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC), opened registration on September 30 for an international design competition as part of its Play Space initiative. Teams will create plans for an outdoor play space at one of the three locations—a public school, a library, and a recreation center. Play Space is part of the Community Design Collaborative’s ongoing Infill Philadelphia, a design-centered initiative created to find solutions to key community development challenges in Philadelphia and other cities.
Teams can register at http://cdesignc.org/playspace/
As part of the competition, teams will design plans for innovative play spaces at their choice of three locations across the city. The sites include:
Free Library of Philadelphia
Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch
5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19143
The Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia is one of 25 Carnegie Libraries built in Philadelphia between 1905 and 1930 to open up libraries to communities. Located on a green half-acre site on Baltimore Avenue, the library’s name honors a mother, community activist, and library volunteer who helped teens resist the pressure to join gangs in the ‘80s. The library continues its legacy of community engagement, serving over 49,000 residents in 2014. The addition of an innovative outdoor play space has the potential to expand the library’s capacity to serve as a safe place for education, recreation, entertainment, technology, and community gathering – both inside and out.
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation
Waterloo Recreation Center
2501 Waterloo Street, Philadelphia, PA 19133
The Waterloo Recreation Center, a mid-block site cobbled together in 1955 from vacant land and the former Waterloo Street, has more than once been closed due to drug-related crime and vandalism. The resilient community has most recently reclaimed their space through a city council and nonprofit-led effort which has transformed and successfully re-opened the center. An adjacent vacant lot could be used to offer an innovative approach to play and accommodate all generations, enabling the center to bring together the diverse residents of this neighborhood.
Philadelphia School District
Haverford Bright Futures
4601 Haverford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19139
Haverford Bright Futures is located in an urban renewal area that lacks the traditional grid and density of the city. Its ample, nearly-two-acre site feels disconnected from the surrounding community. Green, but un-stimulating, the site does not reflect the vitality of a Bright Futures preschool program with an international enrollment inside. Each of the four classrooms leads directly outdoors, but the children are greeted by a modest concrete pad and a vast lawn. Enhancing this site with innovative play opportunities will create a more engaging place for both the children and the community.
The stated goals of the competition are to:
• Explore the role of design in revitalizing underutilized public open spaces serving children.
• Challenge everyone to think differently about playgrounds, parks and other public open spaces; Challenge traditional playground designs and concepts.
• Assist institutions that serve children and families by demonstrating how outdoor play spaces can be designed to support early childhood development and learning.
• Promote investment in learning-oriented outdoor play spaces in Philadelphia while advancing the process and implementation for three real-life sites which may act as prototypes for similar sites throughout the city.
• Recognize innovation and creativity in the design of public outdoor space for children.
Play Space is rooted in the concept that urban play space is an unexpected contributor to solving some of the city’s most critical challenges. The 18-month initiative explores ways that innovative play space helps both children and communities grow. Research has shown that play teaches problem solving while encouraging social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Play spaces also provide a venue to build strong interpersonal relationships, leading to strong communities and family friendly cities. Play Space is funded by the William Penn Foundation, furthering its mission to improve early education and create a more vibrant Philadelphia through the use of engaging, inviting public space.
To learn more about Play Space, visit http://cdesignc.org/infill/
About Infill Philadelphia: Play Space
Play Space is a partnership between The Community Design Collaborative and the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) to explore the design of innovative urban play spaces and how they can improve the quality of child care and early childhood education. Play Space is made possible through a grant from The William Penn Foundation.